Home cooked is always better. We all know this but those pre-packed slices of ham for the family packed lunches are just so convenient. They’re also expensive, the packaging is wasteful and bad for the environment, and half the time they taste bland and uninspiring. So what’s the solution? Home-roasted of course. There’s some initial outlay, but the benefits reaped outweigh the costs involved very quickly and your family’s lunches will soon be the envy of the school and workplace.
What do you need to start?
All you need to get started is a large pan, a roasting tin, and a good quality ham joint. However, highly recommended is a meat slicing machine. It sounds like an extravagance but you will be amazed by how much further a slicing machine makes the meat go. Visit Slice Wiser to find the perfect model for your needs. Long term it pays for itself in the savings you make, and once you have one you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.
What’s the process?
One of the frequent complaints about home cooked ham is that it is often too salty. This is easily rectified by soaking for a few hours (or even overnight) before cooking. Alternatively, the joint can be boiled for a short time before roasting to achieve the same effect. Whichever method of salt reduction has been used, pat the meat dry with kitchen paper before placing it in the roasting tin. Then simply score the fat and put in the oven at 160C (325F) for 20 minutes per pound (450g).
Make it interesting
There is nothing wrong with a plain roast ham. Good quality meat will happily stand on its own. But why stop there. Most common glazes involve a paste made from honey, or brown sugar, and mustard (adjusted to your own tastes). Seasonal offerings include studding the fat with cloves or adding cranberry sauce to the glaze. That’s the best thing about cooking at home, the experimentation. Try apricot jam or marmalade instead of honey. For a savoury twist try barbecue sauce or, if heat is your thing, try a chilli jam glaze or add some chili flakes to one of the other glazes.
It can be daunting to move away from the convenience of pre-packed and do everything at home. But with the right equipment, and a little imagination, it really needn’t be. Have fun with it, experiment to find your favourite flavour combinations, and enjoy better food while ultimately saving money.