The long anticipated ham was rinsed, boiled, and baked. Oh… My… Gosh…
…and served with our cider, and creamy scalloped potatoes from our garden.
Ok, I’ll stop gushing. Prepping the ham was involved. Three changes of water were required to rinse it over 36 hours. Then we boiled it for four hours, smeared it with a brown sugar and mustard mix, spiked it with whole cloves and baked it until the coating became a tasty bark. I was practically dancing in the kitchen it smelled so good.
We saved the water from boiling and reduced it for use in bean or pea soup, ladled out hammy lard for potatoes and other dishes that would benefit from a savory lubricant, and scraped out the sugary drippings from the bottom of the roasting pan to make sweet gravy for ham steak leftovers. Everyone had seconds that night. This was an unsmoked ham, but the result was still hammy to my palette, just more subtle. Ham, ham steak, deviled ham, fried ham, ham and bean soup, ham lard, ham stock, ham kabobs… 15lbs is a lot of ham.
Our brew is surprisingly good, and a perfect accompaniment to pork. It has a dry edge with a hint of sweetness on the finish. I added an extra gallon of fresh cider to the fermented stuff before we bottled it. Most of the sugar was eaten by the yeast to create lovely burpable bubbles.
Christmas morning was like Grandma was in the house. In a time honored tradition I mixed spicy mustard 1:1 from the tin with water. Grandma did it wearing pink fuzzy slippers with a hard heel and her matching nightgown and silk robe, not a woman who did anything in half measures. I didn’t look nearly as smart in a white tee shirt and plaid PJ bottoms. Even so standing in the kitchen with the smell of our sausages on the fry accompanied by the merry “clinkety-clink, clinkety-clink” of the spoon mixing mustard in a little ramekin took me back to Christmases past. I am hopelessly sentimental, but it didn’t interfere with my taste buds. The sausages were terrific, and I will make them again next year.
Santa was generous this year and thoughtfully gave us books on homesteading and butchery. Also under the tree was a stainless steel British designed garden fork and spade set, and a smoker! Bacon is now smoked.