What Do I Cook a Ham in So It Is Not Salty?

honey and plum glazed ham for christmas
A baked honey glazed ham. (Image: TeresaKasprzycka/iStock/Getty Images)

During the processing of ham, large amounts of salt are used to cure the meat. Canned hams have especially high sodium levels. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 1 cup of canned ham has 1317 mg of salt per serving. Changing the way you prepare the ham reduces the salty taste of the meat. If you are looking to reduce your sodium intake, look for reduced salt varieties sold in grocery stores.

Preparation

Soaking the ham overnight in cold water reduces the salty flavor of the ham. Keep the ham submerged in water and refrigerated for 12 to 24 hours. Change the water that you are using to soak the ham every three to four hours to reduce the saltiness even more. If you are in a rush to cook the ham and still wish to curb some of the saltiness of the meat, soak the ham in hot water for a minimum of 10 minutes before cooking.

Roasting

When you are cooking the ham, you can get rid of the drippings to curb some of the salt flavor of the meat. While roasting the ham in the oven, pan drippings will collect in the bottom of the roasting pan. Take these drippings out of the pan and discard them after the ham has roasted for approximately one to one and a half hours. Do not use the drippings to baste the ham.

Basting

Instead of using pan drippings to baste the ham, curb some of the saltiness by using a small bottle of ginger ale or lemon-lime soda. Pour the soda over the ham after you have finished removing the drippings. Bake the ham until it is ready to be removed from the oven.

Glazes

Sweet glazes are often applied to a ham towards the end of the cooking time. The sweet ingredients in the glaze offset much of the saltiness of the meat. Common ingredients in a glaze for ham include honey, brown sugar, maple syrup and cider vinegar.

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