Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New Year Ham Day

About the time I bought the turkey that I roasted a couple of weeks ago, I spied the supermarket coupon offering $10 off for purchasing a spiral half or whole ham. Hmmm, I hadn't baked a ham in maybe a few years, and the discount looked reasonable if I could find a ham that didn't cost an arm and a leg. Soooo, a couple of days before the coupon expired, I managed to find a ham priced $26.37.

The price per pound wasn't that bad—$2.99. My ham weighed 8.82 pounds. After the coupon discount, the price per pound came to $1.86. Woohoo!

On the day I prepped the ham for baking, I unwrapped it and found two packets—brown sugar and glaze. Hmmm, so how much of my $1.86/pound went for the sugar and glaze? It depends on how much you trust the alleged weight on the packets? OK, I did not weigh the ham in the store, trusting the marked weight on the pricing label.

I weighed the sugar on my kitchen scale. The scale's weight reasonably matched the label, with some flexibility for possible parallax and slop because the scale being analog instead of digital. (It's old!)

The glaze was another story! It was marked as 7 ounces. It weighed 12 ounces! I decided to weigh the sweeteners together and also toss in the prep instructions for good measure. Holy moley—a pound of non-ham stuff! Soooo, recalculating my purchase, my ham cost $2.09 a pound, although buying glaze and brown sugar separately might have been just as costly. Still a good deal.

I did not consider the bone as non-ham weight. Intact hams include the bone anyway. Eh, I should have weighed the bone and fat that I cut after I portioned slices and pieces afterward, for curiosity's sake. Maybe next time. Anyway, "Ham 101: What to Know Before Buying a Ham" is a good resource for reading up on hams, and it has a handy pig diagram.

On the day the coupon was to expire, I told some lunch buddies about the deal. One friend told me later that after luch was over, she went to her neighborhood supermarket, but did not find any coupons. She said a cashier told her that they tend to pull coupons a few days before the expiration. The next day when I went to the supermarket near me, I saw coupons, even though expiered. Looks like different stores might have different policies for removing coupons.

As in my turkey preparation from last month, I looked up oven time. On Google, I encountered advice that ranged from an hour to several for the same approximate weight. The ham recipe on the tag specified an hour after oven preheating. I was amazed that the ham did take only about an hour to heat.

My pixstrip shows the empty pan, a pixstrip of the items on the scale that shows the non-ham weight, and progression of the ham preparation.

Note: Not shown—For lessening fluid evaporation, I put in foil before putting on the ritzy ham. :-) I had narrow foil, so I used two sheets, one overlapping the other one.
  1. I laid out pineapple slices to see how they'd take up space, poking a toothpick at the core's hole about 2/3 way into the ham to keep the slices somewhat in place.
  2. I speared a cherry onto each of the exposed toothpicks, nudging pineapple slices as needed.
  3. I tore off an additional, smaller piece of foil, placed it on the ham, and wrapped the other two sheets over it and the ham.
  4. After the hour of baking time, I pulled the ham out of the oven and opened up the foils. Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm!
I heated the glaze and sugar as directed. It seemed a better idea than fussing with more complicated recipes that I found on the web. I especially decided I didn't want to try recipes that included having to score the ham and jam in cloves.

The next day, the glaze was so thick that when I dipped a spoon in and pulled it out, it resembled caramel-colored warm taffy. I poured in the leftover pineapple and cherry juice, microwaving and stirring until the glaze was manageable. Good enough to smear on leftover turkey also! (I'm talking abut the turkey from last month that I parceled into serving sizes and froze.)

I was amazed that the ham yielded as much meat as it did. The fact that it was spiral-cut helped the parceling-out process a lot. Now I have packets of ham in the freezer to keep packets of turkey company.

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