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Can You Buy Raw Ham

Finally, you have smoked hams, which are another type of ham under the umbrella of cured hams. Before the ham can be smoked, it must be salt-cured or brined. It can then spend hours to days in a smokehouse so the smoky flavor can properly seep into the meat.

can you buy raw ham

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There are two types of cured ham: wet and dry. A wet cure uses a brine to season and preserve the pork. Sometimes, but not always, wet-cured hams are smoked after their brining treatment.

Dry-cured ham relies entirely on salt for flavoring and preservation. The method draws out moisture, so you can expect dry-cured ham to have a drier and firmer texture than a wet-cured product. Some examples include prosciutto and Serrano ham.

Country ham, by contrast, is a dry-cured ham that may or may not be smoked after curing. The technique dates back to the days before refrigeration made preservation easier. Virginia ham is an example of a smoked country ham.

Deli ham has been either baked, smoked, or cured. Often, the label will indicate which cooking procedure was used, which should give you some idea of how it will taste. Obviously, smoked ham will have a smoky flavor, while a cured product might be saltier than regular baked ham.

Mix cubed ham with green pepper and onion, then saute in a nonstick skillet until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Add 2 lightly scrambled eggs and cook undisturbed until the eggs are just set, then add a slice of American cheese. Fold and cook gently until the cheese is melted.

Toss cubes of just-stale bread tossed with melted butter, ham, shredded cheese, and sauteed mushrooms. Put the mixture in a baking dish, top with lightly beaten eggs, salt, and pepper, and bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour.

Even cured ham must be refrigerated at a temp of 40 degrees Farenheit or below. The exception is if the ham is canned or dry-cured, then it would be able to be stored at room temp. Country ham and prosciutto are examples of dry-cured ham. Most hams are safe to keep three to five days days in the refrigerator, and three to six months in the freezer, but specific times can be found online as there is some variation.

Trichinella Spiralis is a parasite found in pork, but its presence is minimal because processing plants must follow USDA guidelines to kill the parasite. Regardless, Michigan State University Extension recommends that proper food safety practices should be followed when handling ham. For instance storing in a refrigerator at 40F, not leaving out at room temperature for more than two hours and cooking and reheating according to the directions above.

Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Quentin Tyler, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing, MI 48824. This information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned.

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Hams: They can be fresh, cook-before-eating, cooked, picnic, and country types. There are so many kinds, and their storage times and cooking times can be quite confusing. This background information serves to carve up the facts and make them easier to understand.

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. Hams that must be cooked will bear cooking instructions and safe handling instructions.

Hams that are not ready-to-eat, but have the appearance of ready-to-eat products, will bear a prominent statement on the principal display panel (label) indicating the product needs cooking, e.g., "cook thoroughly." In addition, the label must bear cooking directions.

Curing is the addition of salt, sodium or potassium nitrate (or saltpeter), nitrites, and sometimes sugar, seasonings, phosphates and cure accelerators, e.g., sodium ascorbate, to pork for preservation, color development and flavor enhancement.

Nitrate and nitrite contribute to the characteristic cured flavor and reddish-pink color of cured pork. Nitrite and salt inhibit the growth of Clostridium botulinum, a deadly microorganism which can occur in foods under certain situations.

These uncooked hams are safe stored at room temperature and because they contain so little water, bacteria can't multiply in them. Dry-cured ham is not injected with a curing solution or processed by immersion in a curing solution, but it may be smoked. Today, dry cured hams may be marketed as items that need preparation on the part of the consumer to make them safe to eat. So, as with all meat products, it is important to read the label on hams to determine the proper preparation needed.

Brine curing is the most popular way to produce hams. It is a wet cure whereby fresh meat is injected with a curing solution before cooking. Brining ingredients can include ingredients such as salt, sugar, sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, sodium erythorbate, sodium phosphate, potassium chloride, water and flavorings. Smoke flavoring (liquid smoke) may also be injected with brine solution. Cooking may occur during this process.

After curing, some hams are smoked. Smoking is a process by which ham is hung in a smokehouse and allowed to absorb smoke from smoldering fires, which gives added flavor and color to meat and slows the development of rancidity. Not all smoked meat is smoked from smoldering fires. A popular process is to heat the ham in a smokehouse and generate smoke from atomized smoke flavor.

The foodborne pathogens (organisms in food that can cause disease) that can be found in pork, as well as other meats and poultry, are Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes. They are all destroyed by proper handling and thorough cooking to an internal temperature of 160 F. The following pathogens are associated with ham:

Unpackaged, cooked ham is potentially contaminated with pathogens. For cooked hams that have been repackaged in any other location outside the processing plant or for leftover cooked ham, heat to 165 F.

Spiral-cut cooked hams are also safe to eat cold. The unique slicing method, invented in 1957, reduces carving problems. These hams are best served cold because heating sliced whole or half hams can dry out the meat and cause the glaze to melt and run off the meat. If reheating is desired, hams that were packaged in processing plants under USDA inspection must be heated to 140 F as measured with a food thermometer (165 F for leftover spiral-cut hams or ham that has been repackaged in any other location outside the plant). To reheat a spiral-sliced ham in a conventional oven, cover the entire ham or portion with heavy aluminum foil and heat at 325 F for about 10 minutes per pound. Individual slices may also be warmed in a skillet or microwave.

Cook-before-eating hams or fresh hams must reach 145 F (with a 3-minute rest time) to be safely cooked before serving. Cook in an oven set no lower than 325 F. Hams can also be safely cooked in a microwave oven, other countertop appliances, and on the stove. Consult a cookbook for specific methods and timing.

Country hams 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. Follow the manufacturer's cooking instructions.

NOTE: Set oven temperature to 325 F. Cook all raw fresh ham and ready-to-eat ham to a minimum internal temperature of 145 F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures. Reheat cooked hams packaged in USDA-inspected plants to 140 F and all others to 165 F

*Company determines its "use-by" date and stands by it.** A whole, uncut country ham can be stored safely at room temperature for up to 1 year. The ham is safe after 1 year, but the quality may suffer.*** An unopened shelf-stable, canned ham may be stored at room temperature for 2 years.

CANNED HAM: "Canned meat with Natural Juices" is acceptable for product that has been pumped or contains up to 10% of a solution before canning and processing. Processed, canned, uncured meat products (when water or broth is added to the can) may not be called "with natural juices." The acceptable name would be "with juices." Canned hams come in two forms:

CAPACOLLO, COOKED (Capicola, Capocolla, Capacola, Capicollo, Cappicola, Capacolo - Italian): This product does not meet the definition of ham because it is not from the hind leg of a hog. It is boneless pork shoulder butts which are cured and then cooked. The curing process may be dry curing, immersion curing, or pump curing. The cured product is coated with spices and paprika before cooking. This product shall always be labeled with "Cooked" as part of the product name. Water added is permitted. 041b061a72

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