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This article is about the cut of meat. For other uses, see Ham (disambiguation).
Ham with cloves
Ham with cloves
Ham is the thigh and rump of any animal that is slaughtered for meat, but the term is usually restricted to a cut of pork, the haunch of a pig or boar. Although it can be cooked and served fresh, most ham is cured in some fashion.
Ham can either be dry-cured or wet-cured. A dry-cured ham has been rubbed in a mixture containing salt and a variety of other ingredients (most usually some proportion of sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite), Sugar is common in many dry cures in the United States. This is followed by a period of drying and ageing. Dry-cured hams may require a period of rehydration prior to consumption. A wet-cured ham has been cured with a brine, either by immersion or injection. The division between wet and dry cure is not always hard-and-fast as some ham curing methods begin wet but are followed by dry ageing.
The majority of common wet-cured ham available in U.S. supermarkets is of the "city ham" variety, in which brine is injected into the meat for a very rapid curing suitable for mass market. Traditional wet curing requires immersing the ham in a brine for an extended period, often followed by light smoking. Traditional wet cured ham includes the English Wiltshire ham and the French Jambon de Paris.
Dry-cured varieties include Italian prosciutto crudo [pro%u0283'%u0283ut:to di 'parma] (prosciutto di Parma, prosciutto di San Daniele, prosciutto di Carpegna, prosciutto di Modena, prosciutto Toscano, prosciutto Veneto Berico-Euganeo, Valle d'Aosta Jambon de Bosses, prosciutto di Norcia) and the Spanish Jamon serrano and jamón ibérico (notably the Cured iberic Ham of Guijuelo). The United States has country ham (including Virginia ham), which might or might not be smoked. England has the York ham. Germany's Westphalian ham is usually smoked over juniper, in Belgium there is the smoked Ardennes ham, and from China there is the unsmoked Jinhua ham. In Bulgaria the specific Elenski but is produced. In Iran, the dry-cured Zard K%u016Bh ham is produced.
Ham is also processed into other meat products such as Spam luncheon meat. Baked ham is also a traditional dish served on Easter.
* 1 Regional use
o 1.1 China
o 1.2 France
o 1.3 Germany
o 1.4 Italy
o 1.5 Portugal
o 1.6 Spain
o 1.7 United States
* 2 Religious prohibitions
* 3 See also
* 4 External links
* 5 References
 Regional use
There are many unique ways of preparing ham in China and one particularly unconventional recipe was described in the book, Swallowing Clouds, by Anthony Zee. Hollows are dug in the side of a ham and filled with pieces of soft tofu. The filled ham is then spiced and cooked in an oven, but only the tofu is extracted and eaten while the actual ham is discarded.
Main article: Bayonne ham
Bayonne Ham or Bayonne is an air dried salted ham that takes its name from the ancient port city of Bayonne in the far South West of France (Le Pays Basque or the Basque country). France produces many other types of ham.
Jambon de Paris is a wet-cured, boneless ham and baked in shape. The ham is of superior quality product prepared from fresh, unfrozen pork thighs without adding polyphosphates.
* Black Forest ham, also known as Schwarzwälder Schinken, is from the Black Forest region of Germany. It is seasoned, dry cured, then smoked over sawdust and fir brush.
* Westphalian ham is created from pigs raised in the Westphalian Forest and fed acorns. The resulting meat is dry cured and then smoked over a mixture of beechwood and juniper branches .
In Italy, ham is called prosciutto, and can be either raw (prosciutto crudo) or cooked (prosciutto cotto).
Earliest evidence of ham production in Italy comes from the Republican Roman period (400-300 BCE).
Modern Italian and European Union legislation grants a protected designation of origin to several raw hams, which specify where and how these types of ham can be produced. There are several such hams from Italy, each one with a peculiar production process. Parma ham, the so called Prosciutto di Parma, has almost 200 producers concentrated in the eastern part of Parma Province. Its production is regulated by a quality consortium that recognizes qualifying products with distinctive mark. Only larger fresh hams are used (12-13 kilograms). Curing uses relatively little salt, but can include garlic salt and sugar producing a sweeter meat. After salting, the meat is sealed with pig fat over the exposed muscle tissue, which slows drying. Curing occurs over a minimum 12 months. This curing method uses only salt, without nitrates and without spices. No conserving substances added. San Daniele ham (Prosciutto di San Daniele) is the most similar to Parma ham, especially the low quantity of salt added to the meat, and is the most prized ham. Other raw hams include the so called "nostrani" or "nazionali" or "toscani", they are more strongly flavoured and are produced using a higher quantity of salt.
Portuguese Presunto from Chaves
Portuguese Presunto from Chaves
In Portugal, besides several varieties of wet-cured hams called Fiambre, the most important type of ham is Presunto, a dry-cured ham similar to Spanish Jamón. There is a wide variety of presuntos in Portugal; among the most famous are Presunto from Chaves and Presunto from Alentejo (made from Black Iberian Pig).
Spanish Jamon serrano of Huelva
Spanish Jamon serrano of Huelva
One of the more exacting ham regulatory practices can be found in Spain, where ham is called Jamón. Not only are hams classified according to preparation, but the pre-slaughter diet and region of preparation are considered important. Spanish regulators recognize three types of Iberico ham qualities:
* Cebo or Campo hogs are fed only commercial feed.
* Recebo hogs are raised on commercial feed and fed acorns for the last few months of their lives.
* Bellota hogs are fed a diet almost exclusively of acorns (bellotas).
The regional appellations of Spanish ham (Jamón serrano) include the following:
* Pedroches with Protected Denomination of Origin, from Córdoba (Andalusia).
* Huelva, a full-flavored ham produced in Huelva (Andalusia).
* Jabugo, a small village in Huelva bearing Spain's largest high quality ham industry.
* Guijuelo, Gredos and Béjar, from Salamanca (Castile).
* Extremadura, made in Cáceres and Badajoz.
* Cured ham of Trevélez, cured at least 1,200 meters above sea level. Cured hams from Trevélez are qualified to be among the "sweetest" cured hams due to the low degree of salting necessary for the drying and maturing processes to succeed properly. Mostly this is caused by the north winds coming from the high tips of Sierra Nevada.
* Teruel, cured at least 800 meters above sea level, with a minimum of a year of curing and aging (Serran Ham).
 United States
In the United States, ham is regulated primarily on the basis of its cure and water content. The USDA recognizes the following categories:
Fresh ham is an uncured hind leg of pork. Country Ham is uncooked, cured, dried, smoked-or-unsmoked, 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 ham, a country ham, must be grown and produced in or around Smithfield, Virginia, to be sold as such.
For most other purposes, under US law, a "ham" is a cured hind leg of pork that is at least 20.5% protein (not counting fat portions) and contains no added water. However, "ham" can be legally applied to such things as "turkey ham" if the meat is taken from t
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