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When it comes to other Holidays, the debate may rage on about Turkey vs Ham, but on Easter, there is only one meat on most tables: Holiday Ham!

Ham is an Easter tradition in many households. Here are some tips and tricks for purchasing, storing, baking, and using leftovers.

Image of a Cured Easter Ham.


You have several choices when you get to the grocery store but don't get overwhelmed! Here are your main options:

Bone In: The name says it all, the bone is left in the ham giving it a little extra flavor and a fancy presentation. The bone in ham will take a little longer to cook, see cooking times below.  Don't toss that hambone! It makes great flavoring for soups and stews.  If bone-in ham is your choice, plan on 1/2 to 3/4 lbs. per person.

Spiral Cut: This ham has been cut all the way down the bone making slicing a piece of cake. Many spiral cut hams also come with a glaze packet to make adding more flavor to your ham a breeze.

Boneless: This is our favorite because it has no waste (you get more bang for your buck), it has a little shorter cooking time, and is a great quality ham! Plan on 1/4 to 1/3 lbs. per person with a boneless ham.

Ham Steak: If you are only feeding a couple people this holiday try a ham steak. This is a slice of ham, with the bone it, located behind the meat counter. You can cook it the same way you would a full ham, same great flavor, just in a smaller portion.

If you are serving a large party, it may be best to purchase two smaller hams rather than one large ham. Cooking time will be shorter; preventing the ham from becoming dry, and you could try two different glazes or flavor combinations!

Ham Preparation/Baking

All of the hams the Fareway has to offer have been fully cooked (heated to an internal temperature of 148 degrees F. or above) and baking the ham will be the best way to release the rich flavors and bring back to temperature.

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F and placing the ham cut side down in your baking pan. Placing the ham cut side down will help the ham stay moist. Plan on 10-15 minutes per pound for a boneless ham and 15-20 minutes per pound for a bone-in ham or until the ham reaches 140 degrees. You may wish to tent the ham with aluminum foil for the first hour if you are worried about the ham becoming too dry. As with any meat, let the ham rest under a tent of aluminum foil prior to carving.

Glazing your ham gives a very impressive appearance to the ham as well as enhances the flavor. Ham glazes can be made from honey, marmalades, mustards, or fruit.  If you are going to glaze your ham, baste the ham with your glaze every 20 minutes. For the final baste turn the broiler on for about five minutes to get a crunchy outer coating.

Scoring your ham is also an option. The scores allow the glaze to penetrate the ham and cloves can be added for flavor and to make the ham more decorative. To score the ham simply by making diagonal cuts in the fat along the sides of the ham at approximately 1 inch intervals.  Then make cuts in the opposite direction to form diamond shapes in the fat.  Insert a clove into each diamond if desired, glaze, and bake accordingly.

Leftover ham

Leftovers can be frozen for up to a month. If frozen too long, ham will lose its rosy color and turn greyish-brown, as well as lose texture so make sure to label your freezer bag with the date. Check out our pineapple and ham pizza recipe or our scalloped potatoes and ham for a delicious leftover dish!

Caitlyn Ferin RD, LD

Caitlyn Ferin RD, LD

Registered Dietitian

Caitlyn graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in Dietetics. She has worked in nutrition at Mid Iowa Community Action and as a clinical dietitian for the Iowa Veterans Home and Marshalltown Medical and Surgical Center. Her goal is to help you and your family develop and maintain healthy lifestyles by sharing creative and practical nutrition tips.

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