Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ham, Victorian-Style

How to cure, how to cook. For those who long for the good ol' days, this ought to make you happy for the twenty-first century.

Mr. H. H.’s Receipt for Curing Hams

For each ham to be cured:
1 ounce saltpetre
1 ounce molasses
2 tablespoons common salt
Salt pickle (most likely coarse, pickling salt)

Heat the mixture until it nearly boils, and smear the meat side of the ham with it, keeping the mixture hot and rubbing it in well, especially around the bones and recesses. Let the hams lie in it for 4 to 7 days, according to the size of the hams. Then place them in a salt pickle, strong enough to bear an egg, for 3 weeks. Then soak 8 hours in fresh water. Hang in the kitchen, or other more convenient place to dry, for a fortnight. Then smoke from 3 to 5 days or until well smoked. Then wrap up in strong tar paper, tying it close. Then tie them in bags of coarse unbleached cotton, stuffing in shavings so that no part of the paper touches the cotton. Hang them near a roof in a garret, and they will never give you any trouble.

To Cook a Ham (Very Fine)

1 common-sized ham
Rusk or bread crumbs

Boil a common-sized ham four or five hours, then skin. Bake for 30 minutes, then cover it thickly with pounded rusk or bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes or until much of the fat dries out. This tenderizes it. Save any remaining fat for frying meat.

From "Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles From 'Bryony'"

All proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties.

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