When we think of the Easter table, we think of deviled eggs, carrots (bunny food), lamb, and the proverbial ham. Who can forget the pineapple-cherry decorated hams of yesteryear. This Easter I’m looking at the old-favorites. As a kid (who stayed out of the kitchen except to eat), I always liked to help with the Easter meal. It was fun to make a colorful pattern atop the ham—though I tended to eat far too many of the maraschino cherries.
Just when I thought this nearly 100-year-old recipe had been put to rest, The New York Times upgraded and reprinted it. Whichever ham you choose: city or country; spiral cut or whole; home-glazed or honey-baked, here are some things to remember.
What are the different kinds of ham?
Ham comes in three styles: city, country, and fresh. The city ones are easy to find and fully cooked. Country hams (dry-cured and uncooked) are harder to find. The leaner shank (or leg end) is the most photogenic. And it’s easier to carve, because it has one, long bone. The butt end (the top half of the ham) is tender and flavorful, but often fattier.
When to buy the Easter ham?
Buying early gives you more options. Waiting until the last minute lessens the choices and lengthens the grocery lines.
Which is better—whole ham or spiral cut?
Whole hams are less likely to dry out when baked. But spiral cuts that are not overcooked work just as well.
Should the Easter ham be served hot or cold?
Whole or half hams, that are cooked and vacuum-packed at inspected plants can be eaten cold, out of the wrapper. Reheat at 325 degrees (or internal temp of 140 degrees) to warm up, if desired.
Should ham be covered or uncovered to reheat?
Cover tightly with foil. Reheat in a 325-degree oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 135 to 140 degrees, allowing about 10 minutes per pound to reheat.
What’s the best Easter ham?
This is a matter of personal preferences. But some hams seem, fatty or too salty. Reviewers speak highly of Costco hams. They come with a glaze you can add.
I usually settle on the Honey-Baked, but I’m feeling experimental this year or even retro. Come to think of it, I spotted a can of pineapple in the back of my cabinet the other day. . . .
“Spring comes and so will happiness.
Life will get warmer.”