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Ham is the perfect symbol of a holiday meal, perfection in a main course. Glazed with adornments like cloves, exotic fruit, criss-cross cuts or spiraling they have an elegant quality that appeals to everyone at a holiday table.
Once you have a ham, the ham recipe you choose is completely up to your own personal preferences. Ham goes perfectly with sweet or spicy seasonings, glazes, sauces, and rubs.
Ham is also easy to cook, and easy to buy if you know what to look for. Average hams in supermarkets are cured in a solution of salt, water, preservatives (usually including nitrites and nitrates), and different flavorings. The best hams for holiday meals are bone-in whole or half hams. These are the best as far as moistness and versatility for using in ham recipes.
When you choose a ham, note the label. If it is labeled as plain ham, it tells you that it is ham without additional water added. If a ham has a label stating that it has natural juices, that lets you know it has about 8% water added to it. A ham that states that it has water added has up to 10% water added to it. The more water you add to a ham, the lower the quality. Hams that call themselves ham and water product are up for guessing as far as how much water is in them. For high quality, avoid these hams with high water content.
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