Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Dorcas Annette Walker
Spring has arrived here in the mountains of Tennessee. Warm sunny days fill me with spring madness. I want to live outdoors, dance in the sunshine, and dig in the dirt. Easter is my favorite season of the year as nature renews itself in a magnificent rainbow of colors. My family and friends know I’m crazy about color. Each room in my house is a different color, I love to dress and wear matching hats in vibrant colors, and my new website at: www.dorcasannettewalker.webs.com is full of color. Holidays are an excuse to celebrate with color. Around the world Easter is observed with special services to commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ, the end of the Lent season, and beginning of spring with flowers, family meals, treats, and colored eggs. Traditions include eating hot cross buns that symbolize the cross, bunnies to represent life, and Easter egg hunts. At our house we always prepare an Easter Ham for Sunday.
My grandfather raised pigs on his farm to butcher for market and had a smokehouse where he cured meat. Today we can go to the store and pick out the type of ham that we prefer. Hams are cured in three basic methods producing different flavors. The dry curing is where the ham is rubbed in a mixture of salt, sugar, and spices producing a salty product. Brine curing is the most popular method of immersing the ham into a salty liquid with sugar and spices added and some cooking may occur during this process. Smoking is where the ham is hung in a smokehouse under a smoldering fire adding flavor and color, although modern methods include using liquid smoke. Traditional wet-cured hams are finished by a light smoking. Tennessee or Appalachian hams include honey and are hickory smoked. One of the most popular and expensive ham in the U.S. is the Smithfield or Virginia ham. Ham is one of the leanest cut of pork, contains vitamin B-1 and B-12, but is high in sodium due to the curing process.
My Easter Ham is very easy to make and produces a rich Tennessee flavor in each slice, although you may substitute any of the following glazes to make your own unique Easter Ham: honey/whole cloves, brandy/ raisin/marmalade, sliced pineapples/whole cloves, mustard/brown sugar/lemon juice, applesauce/honey/brown sugar, orange juice/apricot jam or any fruit jams. I have also cooked my hams in a Crockpot with great success. Preparation time for my Easter Ham is about ten minutes and will serve ten.
1 (10 lb) half ham
1 c honey
1 c water
1 tsp ground cloves
Unwrap and place the ham in a baking pan with the largest side down. Pour honey over the ham, add water to the bottom of the pan, and sprinkle on cloves. Cover with tinfoil, seal completely, and bake at 350º for three hours. Slice and serve!
Weekly tip: Line your baking pan with tinfoil for easy cleanup, let the ham sit for 15 minutes before carving, use a sharp knife with a thin blade, and don’t throw out the ham bone as it is great to flavor soups or bean dishes!
Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.webs.com