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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?