Ham is a popular ingredient in many cuisines worldwide, often used in sandwiches, soups, salads, and main dishes. It is a meat product that comes from the hind leg of a pig, cured through smoking or salting. This process gives ham its unique flavor and texture, making it a versatile ingredient for various dishes.
HEALTH BENEFITS of ham
- Provides a good source of high-quality protein: Ham is a great source of high-quality protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscle tissues, bones, and other tissues in the body. Protein is also needed for the production of enzymes, hormones, and antibodies that help fight infections.
- Contains essential vitamins and minerals such as iron and vitamin B-12: Ham is a good source of iron, a mineral essential for the formation of red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body.
- Helps in the formation of red blood cells: As mentioned earlier, ham is a good source of iron, which helps in the formation of red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. Iron also plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy muscles, brain function, and immune system function.
- May improve muscle growth and repair: Ham is high in protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscles. This makes it a great food for athletes, bodybuilders, and those looking to increase muscle mass.
- May help reduce the risk of iron deficiency anemia: Iron deficiency anemia is a condition that occurs when the body doesn’t have enough iron to produce hemoglobin. Ham is a good source of iron, which can help reduce the risk of iron deficiency anemia.
- Contains low levels of carbohydrates and sugars: Ham is a low-carbohydrate and low-sugar food, making it a good choice for those following a low-carb or low-sugar diet. A 3-ounce serving of ham contains only about 1 gram of carbohydrates and 0 grams of sugar.
INTERNATIONAL DISHES using ham
Spanish tortilla: A traditional Spanish omelette that is made with potatoes, onions, eggs, and ham. The ham is usually diced and added to the mixture before cooking.
French croque-monsieur: A classic French sandwich that is made with ham and cheese, usually gruyere or emmental cheese. The sandwich is typically grilled until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Italian carbonara: A pasta dish that originated in Rome and is made with spaghetti, eggs, parmesan cheese, and crispy pancetta or ham. The ham is typically diced and added to the dish at the end.
German kartoffelpuffer: A traditional German potato pancake that is made with grated potatoes, eggs, flour, and diced ham. The pancakes are typically served with applesauce or sour cream.
Chinese fried rice: A popular Chinese dish that is made with rice, eggs, vegetables, and diced ham. The ham adds a salty and savory flavor to the dish.
Japanese okonomiyaki: A savory Japanese pancake that is made with cabbage, eggs, flour, and diced ham. The pancake is typically topped with mayonnaise, bonito flakes, and okonomiyaki sauce.
Cuban sandwich: A classic Cuban sandwich that is made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. The sandwich is typically grilled until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy.
Brazilian feijoada: A traditional Brazilian stew that is made with black beans, pork, and diced ham. The ham adds a salty flavor to the dish and complements the richness of the pork.
Mexican huevos rancheros: A Mexican breakfast dish that is made with eggs, tortillas, and diced ham. The ham adds a savory and salty flavor to the dish.
Australian meat pie: A classic Australian pie that is made with diced beef and ham, onions, and gravy. The pie is typically served with ketchup or tomato sauce.
Nutrition Facts (per 3 ounces):
Saturated Fat: 2g
- Cook ham at low temperatures to prevent it from becoming tough and dry.
- Score the ham before cooking to allow the flavor to penetrate.
- Glaze the ham with a mixture of honey and mustard for added flavor.
- Add sliced ham to your favorite pizza toppings for a meaty addition.
- Use leftover ham to make a flavorful soup or stew.
- Refrigeration: Ham should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature below 40°F (4°C). Keep it in its original packaging or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent any air from entering and drying it out.
- Storage Time: The storage time for ham depends on its type and whether it is cooked or uncooked. Here are some general guidelines:
- Uncooked Whole Ham: Store for up to one week.
Freezing: If you want to store ham for a longer period, freezing is the best option. Here’s how to freeze ham properly:
- Uncooked Whole Ham: Wrap the ham tightly in heavy-duty aluminum foil or freezer paper. Place it in a freezer bag or airtight container to prevent freezer burn. Label the package with the date and freeze for up to six months.Uncooked Half or Partial Ham: Follow the same wrapping and packaging instructions as for the whole ham. Freeze for up to six months.
- Whole Ham: Allow approximately 24 hours of thawing time for every 5 pounds (2.3 kg) of ham.
- Reheating: To reheat ham, follow these guidelines:
- Oven: Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Place the ham in a roasting pan or baking dish with a small amount of water or broth to prevent drying. Cover the ham with aluminum foil and heat for about 10 minutes per pound (0.45 kg) until it reaches an internal temperature of 140°F (60°C).
- Microwave: Slice the ham into thin portions and place them in a microwave-safe dish. Add a small amount of liquid (water or broth) to maintain moisture. Cover with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap with a vent. Heat on medium power, rotating or stirring frequently until heated through.
- Leftovers: If you have leftover ham, store it in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking. Slice or chop the ham into smaller portions and place them in airtight containers or freezer bags. Use the leftovers within three to four days.
From soups and sandwiches to main dishes and salads, ham can add a unique flavor and texture that will make your dishes stand out. So next time you’re at the grocery store, grab a ham and explore the endless possibilities of this delicious ingredient.