The perfect Christmas ham can make your festive season. Unfortunately, not all hams are created equal – so it pays to know the inside story on how to get the best hind leg.
Nosh knows all about hams and what to look for – each year Nosh staff take a range of hams and do a structured tasting to pick the best hams for the busy summer season.
Value for money is not just in dollar terms when it comes to choosing a good ham, Nosh says.
“Taste, texture, provenance and production are all factors that are relevant in enjoying a ham that is also going to last the distance over the holiday period,” says Nosh director Clinton Beuvink. “Ham quality can vary immensely so it’s important to choose quality from the start and you shouldn’t go wrong.”
Mr Beuvink says the first thing to look for is the 100% New Zealand Ham logo.
“Kiwis are being served up a huge amount of imported pork and it simply doesn’t match home-grown ham in terms of quality and texture and taste. Look for recognised brands that are produced from pigs grown here in New Zealand.”
Mr Beuvink says a good ham should be moist but not “swimming” and the meat colour should be fresh and bright and pink. “The best thing is to take the guesswork out of choosing your Christmas ham and talk to the experts,” he says.
The least expensive hams usually have the highest water content Mr Beuvink says but water adds nothing to the taste or the nutrition. As an indication, watch out for water or high moisture in the ham bag. “You don’t want to be carving water on Christmas Day,” he says.
Bone in or out, whole or half?
Boneless hams are more easily sliced of course, but many professional cooks will tell you leaving the bone in adds to the flavour of the meat. And of course, with the bone in, you can show off your carving skills at the Christmas dinner table.
Deciding on a whole ham or a half is quite simple Mr Beuvink says – how many are you feeding and for how long? Do you want to take your ham on holiday?
All Nosh hams are 100% New Zealand grown and are sourced mainly from the South Island. A whole ham with the bone in normally weighs between five and 11 kilograms. Nosh has some handy hints that will help you choose the right ham this festive season and they are in the attached document.
Did you know?
Ham is actually a butchering term – it is the hind leg of the pig. At Nosh they sell whole legs and half hams, each with and without the bone. It’s possible to buy fresh ham but for convenience look for a cured, cooked ham. Hams can also be cured and smoked. Hams are cured using brine which comprises water, salt and sugar and sodium nitrate is often added to get the pink colour and protect against food-born germs. Sodium nitrate is completely safe and often used in food preserving. The curing process yields juicy, moist meat and ensures the ham lasts.
Nosh Food Market presents a new market-style concept in food shopping bringing together the authenticity and expertise of butchery, bakery, delicatessen, the greengrocer and more under one roof. Nosh focuses on quality fresh food and produce at affordable market prices appealing to modern household shoppers. It employs qualified, food-loving people, all experts in fresh produce who enhance the Nosh shopping experience. Nosh stores are located in Glen Innes, Greenlane, Mt Eden, Ponsonby, Matakana and Hamilton. The Nosh Food Market concept was created by Clinton Beuvink and Chris Moore in 2006. Both Beuvink and Moore have extensive and wide ranging grocery and retail marketing and management experience.