April 17, 2014

Hamming it Up

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Margaret's Morsels | Canned Ham


I always serve ham at Easter and this year is no exception.  However, I'm not preparing a shank portion like I normally do.  I'm only cooking for five people so I don't need that much ham.  Due to a time constraint of one of the guests, I need to have supper on the table at 5:30.  This is going to be challenging since I won't start cooking the ham until we get home from church.  I could cook the ham the day before and reheat it when we're ready to eat, but I don't like that idea.  Buying an already cooked spiral ham isn't an option because my family doesn't like them.  Fortunately, there's another choice.  This year, I'll be serving a canned ham for Easter.

Canned ham is exactly what it sounds like:  ham that is sold in a can.


Margaret's Morsels | Canned Ham


The ham is either from a boneless piece of meat, or pieces that have been combined and are held together with a gelatin mixture.  The brand I buy comes in three and five pound sizes, but the larger size is sometimes hard for me to find.  Canned hams are fully cooked and, as such, don't require additional cooking.  However, the flavor is greatly improved by heating. 

There are two varieties of canned hams:  shelf stable and refrigerated. Shelf stable canned hams have been processed at high temperatures which allow them to be stored at room temperature.  This processing, which gives the ham a long shelf life, also makes the product less flavorful than its counterpart.  I avoid shelf stable canned hams and only purchase those that are refrigerated.  The taste and texture of a refrigerated canned ham are a little different from traditional ham, but that's a small price to pay for the convenience.  Unlike a shank or butt portion that can take hours to cook, a canned ham is ready in an hour.  It can also be cooked in a crock-pot which frees up the oven for side dishes and rolls.

Just because it's a canned ham doesn't mean it has to be served plain.  I serve it that way because that's how my family likes ham.  Canned hams -- like regular hams -- can be dressed up with the addition of fruit, liquid smoke or glazes.  A search on the Internet will yield lots of recipes and ideas for using canned hams.

Although I may take a shortcut with the ham this year, the rest of our Easter dinner will be the same as every year:  macaroni and cheese, green bean bundles, deviled eggscranberry orange relish, homemade rolls, an Easter bunny cake and, to wash it all down, a refreshing pitcher of fruit tea.

Canned ham might not be the first thing you think of serving for Easter, but it is an easy and tasty alternative when time is short, you don't need to feed a large crowd and you still want to ham it up!

Margaret's Morsels | Canned Ham

Baked Canned Ham
6 to 8 Servings

1 (3 lb.) canned ham
1/2 cup water

To Bake in the Oven:  Remove ham from can and place in baking pan. Add 1/2 cup water to pan.  Cover pan with foil and bake at 325° for 1 hour, or until meat thermometer inserted in center reads 135°.

To Cook in a Crock-Pot:  Pour 1/2 cup water in bottom of crock-pot.  Wrap ham in foil; place in crock-pot.  Cover and cook on high 1 hour.  Reduce heat to low and cook 6 to 7 hours, or until ham is heated through.

© Margaret's Morsels