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Bone Up on Holiday Hams

I grew up in a house where holiday meals were pull-out-all-the-stops feasts. So it was with much trepidation that I planned and prepared my first holiday dinner away from home. While I made substitutions here and there, ham remained as the elegant centerpiece because some things just can't be replaced. It was then that I learned my parents' secret; ham is a great choice for the holidays because it's so easy to prepare and provides delicious leftovers for days. Preparing a great ham starts with your purchase at the meat counter. At Whole Foods Market, we make no secret of how the pigs were raised for the meat you're buying. Our hams are from pigs raised to meet our high standards, which means:

  • Raised with no antibiotics – ever
  • Raised with no added growth hormones*
  • No animal byproducts in the feed
  • No added nitrates or nitrites
  • Raised without gestation or farrowing crates
  • Certified to the Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating program

*Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising pork In addition, our hams contain no artificial ingredients or preservatives. No water is added, so they are full of flavor. Check our website for more about our ham including choosing the right ham for your meal and to learn more about the farms where the animals are raised. We've gathered a few of our favorite ham recipes and cooking tips plus suggestions on what to do with the leftovers. Here are a few recipes worth sharing this season:

Here are a few simple tips for a perfectly cooked ham:

  • Once a ham is fully cooked, it can be served at a warm or cool temperature but never straight out of the refrigerator.
  • One advantage to buying a bone-in ham is to have the ham bone – great for soups and beans.
  • Allow for ½ to ¾ lbs per serving for a bone-in ham.
  • Allow for ¼ to ½ lbs per serving for a boneless ham.
  • Let the ham sit at room temperature for about an hour before cooking.
  • Scoring the skin of the ham adds to a beautiful presentation. Cut ¼” deep crosswise into 1” to 2” squares to create classic diamond shapes.
  • If you chose to glaze your ham, don’t coat the ham with the glaze until the last hour of cooking to avoid burning.
  • Don’t baste ham with the drippings as they can be really salty. Try pineapple juice, instead.
  • If you use cloves to spice up your ham, be sure and remove the cloves before slicing and serving.

Leftover ham is a tasty addition to sandwiches, soups and macaroni and cheese, or try:

We make it easy to shop for the best quality; you can order your ham online. Plus, there are lots of sides and desserts to choose from to complete your meal. Do you have any not-so-secret ham recipes or tips to share?

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says …

@Mark Unfortunately we do not store the recipe for the Hellacious Ham Glaze in our recipes index. This may be a recipe that's used only in your region or at your specific store. I encourage you to reach out to your community Whole Foods Market directly for this information. The link below will help to identify their contact information and a Team Member should be happy to share this information with you. Also, the second link below will take you to a recipe search for "ham glaze" from our recipes index. Happy hunting! www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/search/recipe_search.php?q=ham+glaze&num=10&start=0&output=xml_no_dtd&client=default_frontend&filter=0&site=Recipes&btnG=Search&sa.x=0&sa.y=0&sa=Search

Mark Miller says …

Can you share the recipe for your Hellacious Ham Glaze? Thanks!

Amy says …

Are all of your hams free of gluten and casein, or just certain brands?

says …

@Amy We have many different hams—some from local or regional producers and some larger/national producers. You’ll need to check the ingredient list for the particular ham you are purchasing to make sure it meets your dietary needs. And as always please feel free to ask our Team Member in the Meat Department or any Butcher you see. They will be more than happy to help you find the perfect ham to fit your needs.

Rany says …

You mentioned step 5 is there any Genetically Engineered grain or feed fed to the animals? thanks

says …

@Rany The step 5 rating requires that the animals be fed a natural diet, one they would consume if they were raised in the wild. Thus these animals eat no grain or feed.

Ruby James says …

Last Sept in Denver we purchased pulled pork from your store. Can you share your recipe? RJ

says …

@Ruby Gladly! Each store and prep kitchen puts their own spin on things but here's the recipe for pulled pork sandwiches from our recipes catalog. If possible, feel free to go back to that store and ask the meat department to share that recipe. Hope this gets you close to original product! http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/1884

Sarah says …

For years I have been left out when it come to ham. My body cant handle the preserveitives, or nitrates. I have been plaged by the decision to either eat it and pay with severe migranes and major stomach issues or just to leave it alone. I am glad you have a ham with niether. You mentioned different types, which one do you think might be best for me to try?

david kay says …


Suzanne Todd says …

I love bean or pea soup made with a ham bone. Does Whole Foods sell just ham bones? Thank You

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@SUZANNE - This will differ between stores but most stores should. Check with your local store directly to see if you need to special order these or if they have them in the back of house for sale.