Ham is a delicious and versatile meat that can be used in a variety of dishes. However, it can also be quite salty, which can make it challenging to cook with.
If you’ve ever found yourself with a ham that’s just too salty, don’t worry – there are ways to remove the excess salt and still enjoy your meal.
In this article, we’ll explore some tips and tricks for removing salt from ham after cooking, so you can create a perfectly balanced dish every time.
So, let’s dive in and learn how to make your ham less salty!
How To Remove Salt From Ham After Cooking?
There are several methods you can use to remove salt from ham after cooking. Here are some of the most effective ways:
1. Soak the ham in water overnight: This is a simple and effective method that can significantly reduce the saltiness of your ham. Simply place the ham in a large bowl of water and let it soak overnight. The longer you soak it, the more salt will be eliminated. After soaking, discard the water and pat the ham dry.
2. Poach the ham: Another water-based option is to poach the ham. This method involves cutting the ham into two pieces to create more surfaces for the water to leach out the salt. Then, poach it in water for 30 minutes before removing it from the poaching liquid and rinsing it in cold water. Pat it dry to remove any excess salt on the surface.
3. Rinse under cold running water: Before cooking, rinse fresh cured meat such as ham or meat that was soaked in a salt brine solution under cold running water. This will remove excess salt on the surface of the meat and make it less salty.
4. Soak in vinegar solution: Combine 8 cups of water with 1 cup of white vinegar and two tablespoons of salt in a large bowl. Place the ham in the bowl and let it soak for an hour before rinsing it under running water until there is no more liquid left. Wring it dry after that.
5. Boil the ham: Boiling the ham after soaking it will continue to remove salt. However, do not add any salt to the water, stock or sauce that the meat is in as it cooks.
Understanding The Salt Content In Ham
Ham is a popular meat that is often used as the centerpiece of holiday meals. However, it is important to be aware of the salt content in ham, as it can be high in sodium and other preservatives. The salt content in ham can vary depending on the type of ham and the method of preparation.
According to the Codex Alimentarius Hungaricus, a cured product can be considered salt matured if the average salt content measured in the cross section of the product is within the limits prescribed by law. The threshold limit for salt content in ham is 5.00%. It was found that the average salt content of a whole ham was 4.71%, which is below this limit.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Database states that a single slice of prepackaged ham luncheon meat contains 260 milligrams of sodium. This amount supplies 11% of the maximum recommended daily intake of sodium for healthy adult men and women. If you are on a sodium-restricted diet and must keep your sodium intake below 1,500 milligrams per day, each slice of ham luncheon meat is 17% of the amount you can consume daily. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of your sodium intake when consuming ham.
Reducing the salt content in ham can also affect its water-holding capacity (WHC). A decrease in WHC was observed in hams where the salt content was reduced by 60% and 80%. This is because sodium chloride increases the water-binding capacity of meat by binding to protein molecules.
Soaking Method: Removing Salt From Ham With Water
One of the most effective methods for removing salt from ham is soaking it in water. This method can be done in two ways.
The first method is to soak the ham in water overnight. Simply place the ham in a large bowl of water and let it soak overnight. You can even soak it for up to 48 hours for more salt to be eliminated. After soaking, discard the water, and pat the ham dry. This will significantly reduce the saltiness of your ham.
The second method is to poach the ham. This method involves cutting the ham into two pieces to create more surfaces for the water to leach out the salt. Then, poach it in water for 30 minutes before removing it from the poaching liquid and rinsing it in cold water. Pat it dry to remove any excess salt on the surface.
Regardless of which method you choose, soaking cured or naturally salty meat in a large pot of cold water can help remove excess salt if you plan to cook the meat in your oven or on your grill. The time it takes to neutralize the salt by removal depends on the weight and degree of saltiness. Soak smaller or less salty cuts for 6 to 12 hours and large or very salty cuts for up to 72 hours. Drain and replace the soaking water every 4 to 6 hours regardless of how long you soak the meat.
Boiling Method: Removing Salt From Ham With Boiling Water
Boiling ham is another effective method to remove salt from it. Here’s how you can do it:
1. Cut the ham into large chunks: To ensure that the boiling water can reach as much of the ham as possible, cut it into large chunks.
2. Place the ham in a pot of boiling water: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the ham chunks to it. Boil the ham for about ten minutes.
3. Taste the ham: After boiling it for about ten minutes, taste the ham to see if it’s still too salty. If it is, continue boiling it for another one or two minutes.
4. Don’t overdo it: Do not boil the ham for longer than necessary to remove the salt. Doing so can result in tough, dried-out, or unappetizing ham.
Boiling ham meat doesn’t remove all of the salt from it, but it can reduce the sodium content by up to 10%. The longer you boil it, the more sodium will be removed. However, if your ham is pre-seasoned, boiling it will only reduce the salt content to a very small degree. Therefore, you should avoid adding any salt to the water, stock or sauce that the meat is in as it cooks.
Sweetening Method: Balancing Salt With Sweetness
If your ham is still too salty after trying the methods above, you can balance out the saltiness with sweetness. Here are some ways to do it:
1. Baste or marinate the ham in soda: This is a popular method in the South, where Coca-Cola is used to baste the ham. Ginger ale or lemon-lime flavors of soda can also be used. The sweetness of the soda will counteract and balance out the saltiness of the ham.
2. Top with fruit: Pineapples, peaches, and maraschino cherries are commonly used to top ham. The sweetness of the fruit will help balance out the saltiness.
3. Add a glaze: A glaze made with honey, brown sugar, or maple syrup can be brushed on the ham when it’s nearly done cooking in the oven. This will add sweet notes to the ham and help balance out the saltiness.
It’s important to note that adding sweetness to your ham won’t remove any salt, but it will help balance out the flavors and make it more enjoyable to eat.
Spicing Method: Adding Flavor To Reduce Saltiness
If you find that your ham is still too salty after trying the above methods, you can add some spices to help reduce the saltiness while adding flavor. Here are some spices that you can use to add flavor and reduce saltiness:
1. Black pepper: Adding black pepper to your ham can help balance out the saltiness and add a subtle kick of flavor.
2. Garlic: Garlic is a versatile spice that can be used to add depth and complexity to your ham. You can use fresh garlic cloves or garlic powder to season your ham.
3. Mustard: Mustard is a great way to add tang and flavor to your ham while reducing the saltiness. You can use Dijon mustard, honey mustard, or any other type of mustard that you prefer.
4. Paprika: Paprika is a mild spice that can add a smoky flavor to your ham while reducing the saltiness. It also adds a beautiful red color to the meat.
5. Rosemary: Rosemary is an herb that pairs well with pork and can help cut through the saltiness while adding a fresh, herbaceous flavor.
To use these spices, simply sprinkle them over your ham before cooking or mix them into a marinade or glaze. Remember to taste as you go and adjust the seasoning as needed until you achieve the desired flavor balance.
Other Tips And Tricks For Removing Salt From Ham
In addition to the methods mentioned above, there are a few other tips and tricks you can use to remove salt from ham:
1. Use fruit juice: If you’re looking for a way to counteract the saltiness of ham slices, you can try cooking them in a skillet with lemon-lime soda or apple juice. The sweetness of these beverages can help balance out the saltiness of the ham.
2. Soak for longer periods: For large or very salty cuts of meat, you may need to soak them for up to 72 hours to remove excess salt. Be sure to drain and replace the soaking water every 4 to 6 hours regardless of how long you soak the meat.
3. Use milk and sugar: If you want to add some sweetness to your ham while also reducing its saltiness, you can try packing it in a generous coating of brown sugar and covering it with a layer of crushed pineapple. Then, pour enough milk over the ham so that it ends up about 1/4 inch deep in the bottom of the roasting pan before refrigerating overnight. This method can help reduce saltiness while also adding some delicious flavor.
4. Use a combination of methods: If your ham is particularly salty, you may need to use a combination of methods to remove excess salt. For example, you could start by soaking it in water overnight, then poaching it for 30 minutes, and finally rinsing it under cold running water before cooking.
By using these tips and tricks, you can effectively remove excess salt from ham after cooking and enjoy a delicious, less salty meal.