Ham A to Z: 26 Things to Know about Ham

Ham is one of the most extravagant foods in the world, from religious matters to the many drying and curing methods, it is popular from China to Spain


Traces of production of ham has been found in Tuscany, in the Etruscan civilization and dates back to the fifth century BC. In De Agricultura Cato described the process of making cured ham, in Latin called perexutus, that meant “without any liquids”.


Bayonne Ham is an air dried salted ham that takes its name from the ancient port city of Bayonne in the far South West of France. The city is located in both the Basque Country and Gascony. The hams were rubbed in salt produced in the salt pans of the Adour estuary.


Also known as boiled ham, the meat is cured, shaped, and cooked in steam or water. A ham that has been heated during some part of the processing to an internal temperature exceeding 58°C (137°F) but less than 64°C (148° F) is defined partially cooked. If the temperature exceeds this upper limit the ham is then called full-cooked.



Dry-cured is a meat preservation process applied to ham production. Through dry-curing, the ham can be stored for several months. The raw materials and the ripening conditions have a significant influence on the final texture and flavor. Drying can occur simply by exposing ham to air, or through smoking (smoked ham).


Eisleker Ham or Jambon d’Oesling is a specialty from the Oesling region in the north of Luxemburg. Traditionally, it was prepared by marinating the hams in herbs and vinegar for several days, then hanging them in a chimney for long periods of cold smoking.


Ham and pork meat in general is strictly forbidden (or highly restricted) according to different religions: Jewish, Islam, Seven-Day Adventists, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Rastafarian traditions exclude pork from diet.


You can obtain excellent ham from goose, also knows as “kosher ham”. It was recently officially approved by Rabbis (the official leader of Jewish congregation) and introduced into kosher diet.

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