… yes it’s Christmas time soon and we are getting ready to prepare food for 3 days of Christmas. Yes you didn’t overhear yourself – in Poland we have 3 days of Christmas: Christmas Eve, First Day of Christmas and Second Day of Christmas. All three as important and all three requires plenty of food. Beacause I’m quite huge fan of UK this year traditions will mingle (not only because Mr Fiance comes over for Christmas in Poland) and one of our lunches will be adorned with home cured and roasted ham in glaze. I decided to cure my ham at home, so after a long research we purchased all ingredients needed.
The whole process is simple – it’s so called wet curing, more likely to give you a nice gammon ham. One needs a nice raw ham – our had hardly any fat and weights about 2,5 kilo. Moreover you will need herbs and spices, water and curing salt or salt, sugar and saltpeter. Those days saltpeter seems to be hard to purchase both in Poland and in UK, but one can easily buy curing salt which is a ready made mix. It is hughly advisable to rub the ham with some of curing salt before submerging it in curing liquid. Simply because in case there are some bacterias on the meat they will be killed. The water needs to be cooked and cooled down, and then curing salt shall be mixed in (follow proportions on the packet), and one adds spices and herbs and then cover the ham with the liquid. Ham has to be completely covered with it. One has to keep it with lid on, in cold and dark place: basement, fridge or pantry. Every day ham needs to turned so that it cures well.
As you see here my ham is ready to put the lid on and store it. Container it is in belonged to my grandmother and used to be traditional storing container for Christmas goodies – pasties, herings and so on. Today my ham is curing in there and I hope that all Nan’s cooking wisdom protects it 😉
Cure Your Ham
(for a ham 2,5kilo)
2,5 kilo ham – boneless joint of ham (not treated)
4 packets of curing salt (I used this, but adjust amount according to salt you are using)
6 cloves garlic peeled and cut in two
peper corns (about a table spoon full)
juniper berries (about 1/2 table soon)
cloves (about 5-6)
allspice (about 1/2 table soon)
4 bay leaves
1,5l boiled and cooled water
With one packet rub the salt all over the meat. Put into clean container (enameled, class or pottery). When the water is cooled, mix in remaining salt and add garlic. Crash the spices in mortar, break the bay leaves and add to the brine. Pour over the ham and make sure that it’s covered completely by curing brine. Put the lid on and store for 14 days in dark and cold place. Turn your ham every day. On the 14th day remove it from the brine, rinse it, pat it dry, bind with natural string and cook, roast or smoke to your liking.