BUTT END, HALF OR PORTION - The upper, meatier part of the whole leg; a butt portion has had some center slices removed for separate sale as ham steaks or center cut ham slices. The half includes this meat.
CANNED HAM - Canned hams come in two forms:
Shelf stable - Store on shelf up to 2 years at room temperature. Generally not over 3 pounds in size.
Refrigerated - May be stored in the refrigerator up to 6 to 9 months. Its weight can be up to 8% more than original uncured weight due to uptake of water during curing. It need not be labeled "Added water" except for "In Natural Juices." Net Weight is the weight of the actual ham excluding the container.
CAPACOLLA - Boneless pork shoulder butts which are dry cured; not necessarily cooked.
HAM CAPACOLLA - Is made with ham instead of pork shoulder butts.
COOK BEFORE EATING - Needs further cooking. Is not completely cooked in the plant and should be cooked to 160°F.
COTTAGE HAM - A ham made from the shoulder butt end.
COUNTRY HAM - Uncooked, cured, dried, smoked-or-not smoked meat products made from a single piece of meat from the hind leg of a hog or from a single piece of meat from a pork shoulder. Smithfield and country hams are not fully cooked but are dry cured to be safe stored at room temperature. They should be cooked before eating according to manufacturer's instructions. A ham labeled "Smithfield Ham" must be processed in the city of Smithfield, Virginia.
FRESH HAM - The uncured leg of pork. Since the meat is not cured or smoked, it has the flavor of a fresh pork loin roast or pork chops. Its raw color is pinkish red and after cooking, greyish white.
FULLY COOKED - Needs no further cooking. Fully cooked in plant. Can be eaten directly as it comes from its packaging or reheated.
GELATIN - About one-fourth ounce of dry gelatin is often added before a canned ham is sealed to cushion the ham during shipment. During processing, natural juices cook out of the ham and combine with the gelatin. When the ham cools, a jell forms. Gelatin is included in the net weight statement on the label.
HAM - The product is at least 20.5% protein in lean portion and contains no added water.
HAM with NATURAL JUICES - The product is at least 18.5% protein. Can weigh 8% more than uncured weight. Example: canned hams.
HAM - WATER ADDED - The product is at least 17.0% protein with 10% added solution; it can weigh 8% more after curing than uncured.
HAM AND WATER PRODUCTS - Product may contain any amount of water but label must indicate percent of "added ingredients." For example, "X % of weight is added ingredients" for any canned ham with less than 17.0% protein.
HAM STEAK - Another name for center cut ham slices.
HICKORY-SMOKED HAM - A cured ham which has been smoked by hanging over burning hickory wood chips in a smokehouse. May not be labeled "hickory smoked" unless hickory wood has been used.
HONEY-CURED - May be shown on the labeling of a cured product if honey is the only sweetening ingredient or is at least half the sweetening ingredients used, and if the honey is used in an amount sufficient to flavor and/or affect the appearance of the finished product.
"LEAN" HAM - The term "lean" may be used on a ham's label provided the product contains less than 10 grams fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams cholesterol per 100 grams and Reference Amount Customarily Consumed (RACC).
"EXTRA LEAN" HAM - A ham labeled "extra lean" must contain less than 5 grams fat, less than 2 grams saturated fat and the same cholesterol as allowed per the amount of "lean" ham.
PICNIC, PORK SHOULDER PICNIC - A front shoulder cut of pork which has been cured in the same manner as ham.
PROSCIUTTO HAM - An Italian-style dry cured raw ham; not smoked; often coated with pepper. Proscuitti can be eaten raw because of the way they are processed. PARMA HAM is prosciutto from the Parma locale in Italy. These hams tend to be larger than the U.S. produced product, as Italian hogs are larger at slaughter.
SECTIONED AND FORMED or CHUNKED AND FORMED - A boneless ham that is made from different cuts, tumbled or massaged and reassembled into a casing or mold and fully cooked. During this process it is usually thoroughly defatted.
SHANK END, HALF OR PORTION - The lower, slightly pointed part of the leg. A "portion" has the center slices removed for separate sale as "ham steaks" or center cut ham slices. The half includes this meat.
SKINLESS, SHANKLESS - A ham with all of the skin and the shank removed. The leg bone and aitch (hip) bone remain.
SUGAR CURED - A term that may appear on ham labels if cane or beet sugar is at least half the sweetening ingredients used and if the sugar is used in an amount sufficient to flavor and/or affect the appearance of the finished product. Most hams contain sugar in the curing mixture.
WESTPHALIAN HAM - A German-style dry cured ham that is similar to Prosciutto; smoked, sometimes with juniper berries.
Also called Westfalischer Schinken.
Some of the following information is from
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). FSIS is the public
health agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for
ensuring that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and
egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.
Definition - The word HAM means pork which comes from the hind leg of a hog. Ham made from the front leg of a hog will be labeled "pork shoulder picnic".
Hams are either ready-to-eat or not. Ready-to-eat hams include prosciutto and fully cooked hams; they can be eaten right out of the package. Fresh hams must be cooked by the consumer before eating.
Hams may be fresh, cured, or cured-and-smoked. The usual color for cured ham is deep rose or pink:
When buying a ham, estimate the size needed according to the number of servings the type of ham should yield:
Honey-Glazed Ham Dinner Menu - includes Recipes
For fully cooked hams that has been repackaged in any other location outside the plant or for leftover fully cooked ham, heat to a temperature of 140 degrees F.
Cook-before-eating hams must reach a temperature of 160 degrees F. to be safely cooked before serving. Cook in an oven set no lower than 325 degrees F. Hams can also be safely cooked in a microwave oven, other countertop appliances and on the stove top. Consult a cookbook for specific methods and timing.
Country hams or dry-cured hams (ham that has been cured, smoked and aged for a period ranging from a few months to a year or more) can be soaked 4 to 12 hours or longer in the refrigerator to reduce the salt content before cooking. Then they can be cooked by boiling or baking and must much a temperature of 160 degrees F. Follow the manufacturer's cooking instruction.
Glazes can range from a simple brush of maple syrup to complicated
mixtures made of sugars and seasonings. Prepare your favorite ham glaze
and brush evenly over the surface of the warm ham. They should be added
during the last 20 to 30 minutes of heating time so they do not burn.
Timetable For Cooking Ham
Set oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Both cook-before-eating cured and fresh hams should be cooked to 160 degrees F. Reheat fully cooked ham to 140 degrees F.
Use a Cooking or Meat Thermometer for the perfect ham for your Christmas dinner. You definitely need a Cooking or Meat Thermometer! Never guess if your meat is done again!
When checking the temperature of your ham, insert meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of beef, not resting in fat or touching bone. Cook until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
Remove from oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let sit approximately 15 to 20 minutes. NOTE: Cutting into the meat too early will cause a significant loss of juice. Do not skip the resting stage.
Use a long, thin, sharp knife (choose a carving knife that is long enough to cut the entire length of the cut). Sharpen your Carving Knife, if necessary, using either a sharpening rod or stone.
Place the ham on a cutting board and trim off 2 or 3 slices, parallel to its length, from the thin side of the ham.
Turn the ham so that it rests on the flat side created from trimming off the slices. Hold the ham firmly with a carving fork and starting at the shank end, cut slices across the ham, down to the bone.
After cutting the slices, cut parallel along the bone to release the slices. Place slices on a serving platter.
Turn the ham and continue to carve slices in the same manner.
You can use leftover ham in soups, casseroles, pasta dishes, and salads. And, like turkey leftovers at Thanksgiving, ham makes an wonderful sandwich. It's a perfect pairing for many egg dishes. Chopped ham tastes great in frittatas - an egg dish resembling an omelet that's not folded over and is usually finished under the broiler - and quiches. Ham is ideal pan-fried and served with scrambled eggs.
Remember to save the ham bone for your soups. Especially bean and split-bean soup. Just remember to watch how you salt or season the leftover dishes you make. Ham tends to be salty and can make whatever you're making salty, too.
Ham is one of the leanest cuts of pork. According to the USDA, a 3.4 ounce (100 gram) serving of roasted extra-lean ham has about 145 calories, 5.5 grams of fat, 21 grams of protein and 53 milligrams of cholesterol. Ham contains a significant amount of vitamins B-1 and B-12. While fresh pork is low in sodium, ham is high in sodium as a result of the curing process. According to the USDA, a serving of ham can contain about one-half of the recommended daily intake of sodium.
Trichinella spiralis (trichina) - worms sometimes present in hogs. All hams are specifically processed to USDA guidelines to kill trichinae.
Staphylococcus aureus (staph) - is destroyed by cooking and processing but can be re-introduced via mishandling; the bacteria can then produce a toxin which is not destroyed by further cooking. Dry curing may or may not destroy S. aureus, but the high salt content on the exterior inhibits these bacteria. When the ham is sliced, the moister interior will permit staphylococcal multiplication; thus sliced dry-cured hams must be refrigerated.
Mold - can often be found on country cured ham. We believe most of these are harmless but some molds can produce mycotoxins. Molds grow on hams during the long curing and drying process because the high salt and low temperatures it with hot water and scrub off the mold with a stiff vegetable brush.