Happy Easter! For those who celebrate Easter, ham is a traditional food enjoyed on this day. Many of the store flyers have advertised ham on sale. Some are less expensive than others. What’s the difference? Below are a few key points from U.S. Department of Agriculture. But first, where does ham come from?
Hams may be fresh, cured, or cured-and-smoked. Ham is the cured leg of pork. Fresh ham is an uncured leg of pork. Fresh ham will bear the term “fresh” as part of the product name and is an indication that the product is not cured. “Turkey” ham is a ready-to-eat product made from cured thigh meat of turkey. The term “turkey ham” is always followed by the statement, “cured turkey thigh meat.”
The usual color for cured ham is deep rose or pink; fresh ham (which is not cured) has the pale pink or beige color of a fresh pork roast; country hams and prosciutto (which are dry cured) range from pink to a mahogany color.
Hams are either ready-to-eat or not. Ready-to-eat hams include prosciutto and cooked hams; they can be eaten right out of the package. Fresh hams and hams that are only treated to destroy trichinae (which may include heating, freezing, or curing in the processing plant) must be cooked by the consumer before eating. What is good for the consumer is that hams that must be cooked will bear cooking and safe handling instructions.
Whole or half, cooked, vacuum-packed hams packaged in federally-inspected plants and canned hams can be eaten cold, right out of the package. However, if you want to reheat these cooked hams, set the oven no lower than 325 degrees Fahrenheit and heat to an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit as measured with a food thermometer.
Often hams are bigger in size than we normally can eat at one time. It’s a great to plan leftover meals. With a little creativity and a few new vegetables, ham can become a brand new breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Here is one idea for a new meal using leftover ham. It can be served warm or cold, and as a dinner or breakfast food. If you need to substitute other plan over vegetables, be creative. The green beans can be substituted for asparagus, peppers, etc.
Green Beans and Ham Frittata
(Makes 2 servings)
1 cup cooked green beans, drained
1/2 cup cooked lean ham, chopped or cut into strips
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
Several dashes of ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (2 ounces) of your favorite low-fat shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch round baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Add cooked green beans, cooked ham and onion evenly over the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with black pepper. In a bowl, lightly beat eggs together using a fork. Pour eggs evenly over ham mixture to cover.
Sprinkle cheese over the mixture.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes in 350-degree oven.
Mary Ehret is the Penn State Extension Nutrition Links Supervisor in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Carbon, Sullivan and Bradford Counties. Reach her at 570-825-1701 or at [email protected]