What Is Reformed Ham? (Fully Explained)

Are you a fan of deli meats? Have you ever wondered what goes into making those perfectly sliced chicken hams?

Well, the answer might surprise you. Reformed ham, also known as formed ham, is a popular type of deli meat made from pieces of chicken meat that are tumbled and pressed together.

But what exactly does that mean? And why are some manufacturers adding water to their hams?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the process of making reformed ham and explore the reasons behind the addition of water.

So, grab a sandwich and let’s dive in!

What Is Reformed Ham?

Reformed ham is a type of deli meat that is made by taking pieces of chicken meat and pressing them together. The process involves tumbling the meat to create a cohesive texture that can be sliced into cold cuts.

To achieve the desired texture and flavor, manufacturers often add functional proteins that help bind the meat pieces together and improve the sliceability of the ham. Collagen from the protein brings elasticity into the end product to improve the sliceability. This results in better quality products and a cost-in-use solution for your reformed meat products.

However, some manufacturers have taken things a step further by adding water to their hams. This practice has been criticized by consumer watchdogs, as it means customers are paying for water instead of meat.

In fact, some hams are only half meat and a third water, according to tests carried out by consumer watchdogs. Ye Olde Oak ham comes top for selling the lowest percentage of meat in its ham, which is 55% meat and 37% water, with additives including gums and polyphosphates, sugar and salt making up the remaining 8%.

The Process Of Making Reformed Ham

The process of making reformed ham involves taking meat that has been chopped or emulsified and pressing it into a cohesive shape. Scraps left over from making formed ham may also be used in making reformed ham. To achieve the desired texture, manufacturers often add functional proteins, such as collagen, that help bind the meat pieces together. This improves the sliceability of the ham and results in better quality products.

However, some manufacturers have taken things a step further by adding water to their hams. This practice has been criticized by consumer watchdogs as it means customers are paying for water instead of meat. In fact, some hams are only half meat and a third water, according to tests carried out by consumer watchdogs.

The process of making reformed ham is different from traditional ham-making methods, which involve soaking in brine or dry-curing legs of pork by covering them with salt and saltpetre, and then hanging them for several weeks. Premium supermarket ham can be cooked in just 72 hours using industrialized production processes.

Why Do Manufacturers Add Water To Reformed Ham?

One of the main reasons why manufacturers add water to reformed ham is to improve its texture. Water helps bind the meat pieces together and makes the ham more cohesive, which in turn improves its sliceability. This is especially important for deli meats, which are often sliced thin for sandwiches and other dishes.

In addition, water can also help reduce costs for manufacturers. By adding water to the ham, they can increase its weight and volume, which means they can produce more product with less meat. This can help them stay competitive in a crowded market and increase their profit margins.

However, adding too much water to reformed ham can be a problem, as it means customers are paying for water instead of meat. Consumer watchdogs have criticized this practice, as it can be misleading for customers who think they are buying a meat product.

To address this issue, some manufacturers have started labeling their hams with the percentage of added ingredients, including water. This allows customers to make an informed decision about what they are buying and how much they are paying for it.

The Controversy Surrounding Water Added To Reformed Ham

The addition of water to reformed ham has sparked controversy among consumers and watchdog groups. While some manufacturers argue that adding water helps to bind the meat pieces together and improve the texture, critics argue that it dilutes the meat content and misleads customers.

Tests carried out by consumer watchdogs have revealed that some hams contain as much as 37% water, meaning customers are paying for water instead of meat. This practice has been criticized for being deceptive and misleading, as customers may not realize that they are getting less meat for their money.

Moreover, the addition of water may also result in a lower quality product. While functional proteins can help to improve the texture and sliceability of reformed ham, adding too much water can result in a mushy and unappealing texture.

Despite these concerns, the practice of adding water to reformed ham remains common among manufacturers. Some argue that it is a cost-effective way to produce large quantities of deli meat quickly and efficiently. However, others argue that it is a disservice to consumers who expect to get what they pay for – a high-quality, meat-based product.

As such, the controversy surrounding water added to reformed ham continues to be a topic of debate among consumers, manufacturers, and watchdog groups alike.

How To Choose The Best Quality Reformed Ham

When looking for the best quality reformed ham, it’s important to check the label for the percentage of meat and water content. Hams with less water have a stronger flavor and more natural texture, so it’s best to look for hams with a higher percentage of meat and lower percentage of water.

Avoid hams that contain additives such as gums, polyphosphates, sugar, and salt, as these may affect the taste and texture of the ham. Premium hams usually contain less than 1% water and are made from high-quality meat, making them a good choice for those who want a more authentic flavor.

It’s also important to check the type of meat used in the ham. Some reformed hams are made from chopped or emulsified meat that may not necessarily be all muscle meat. Scraps left over from making formed ham may be used in reformed ham, so it’s best to choose hams made from high-quality muscle meat.

Finally, consider the salt content of the ham. Some hams contain high levels of salt, which can be unhealthy if consumed in large quantities. Look for hams with a moderate salt content or opt for low-sodium options if you’re watching your salt intake.

By following these tips, you can choose the best quality reformed ham that delivers on taste and texture without compromising on quality.

Delicious Recipes To Make With Reformed Ham

If you’re looking for some tasty recipes to make with reformed ham, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Ham and Cheese Panini: Layer slices of reformed ham and your favorite cheese between two slices of bread, then grill in a panini press until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted.

2. Ham and Pineapple Pizza: Spread tomato sauce on a pizza crust, then top with diced reformed ham, pineapple chunks, and shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven until the crust is crispy and the cheese is melted.

3. Ham and Egg Breakfast Sandwich: Fry an egg in a pan, then place it on a toasted English muffin with a slice of reformed ham and some shredded cheddar cheese. Add some hot sauce or ketchup for extra flavor.

4. Ham and Potato Soup: Saute diced onions, celery, and carrots in a pot, then add diced potatoes, chicken broth, and chopped reformed ham. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, then puree with an immersion blender for a creamy soup.

5. Ham and Cheese Quiche: Whisk together eggs, milk, shredded cheese, and diced reformed ham, then pour into a pie crust and bake until set. Serve warm or cold for breakfast or lunch.

These recipes are easy to make and can be customized to your preferences. While reformed ham may not be the healthiest option out there, it can still be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.