Many people have had ham at some point. Whether it’s deli ham put in sandwiches or a nice ham for Christmas day, ham can be seen at stores all year round.
But not everyone has had ham. This means that not everyone knows what ham tastes like. Each form of ham has a different taste from the light taste of deli ham to the smokier taste of a holiday ham. In general, ham is one of the sweeter meats out there.
The Taste of Ham
Without anything added to it, ham has a smokey and sweet flavor. This taste is kept throughout the different brands and cuts of ham that are out there.
When cooking a ham, many people glaze it to add extra flavor. These glazes can consist of honey, soda, a sugar mixture, bbq sauce, and so many other options. Each of these glazes either enhances or changes the flavor of the ham, making this meat versatile.
The Texture of Ham
Depending on the kind of ham you have, there will be different textures. Deli-meat ham is thin and each to chew. There’s nothing really special to it. Deli-meat ham has a similar texture to other thin slices of meat, though the moisture makes it more slippery.
A fresh ham is slightly chewier but that’s just because it is thicker. Country ham is tougher with a more salty taste. Each kind of ham has its own place whether it’s on sandwiches, eaten alone, or put on a cheeseboard.
The moisture content of the ham will change both the taste and texture. The dryer the ham, the tougher it will be.
Ham VS Prosciutto
Ham and prosciutto are basically the same things with prosciutto meaning “ham” in Italian. At the core, they are both pieces of pork that are cured until they turn into “ham.”
The main difference between the two is curing styles. Prosciutto is usually cured for 2 years compared to ham’s typical 1 year of curing. Also, prosciutto is never smoked while ham can be smoked.
With prosciutto, it is usually eaten in very thin slices like deli-meat. It’s an Italian delicacy that has its own way of being eaten. Ham has more variety with slices that can be a lot thicker if desired.
You can buy normal ham raw but you can’t buy prosciutto raw. It must be completely cured before it can be sold.
Health Benefits of Ham
When you think of ham in the deli section or even on the cooking rack, you may not think that there are many nutrients other than protein within the meat. However, ham has quite a few nutritional benefits.
Obviously, ham is a good source of protein. Each cup of ham has 29 grams of protein. That’s quite a lot!
Compared to other types of meats, such as lamb or beef, ham is healthier as it doesn’t have as many saturated fats. There’s more polyunsaturated fat in ham, making it a better option.
Ham is also a good source of B vitamins, like B1, B3, B6, and B12. It also has plenty of other minerals like being a good source of iron and potassium. These things help with bone health and immunity.
Ham can also be energizing. With the vitamin and mineral content that ham has, these things help the body produce energy.
Ham has all 9 amino acids, perfect for working towards a more balanced diet. This also helps with energy production as it helps the body build proteins, which also helps you become stronger.
It is important to look out for the salt content in ham. Curing ham usually involves preserving in salt, which obviously makes the salt content pretty high. Keep this in mind when choosing which kind of ham to buy.
Why Is Ham Expensive
While deli-meat ham isn’t that pricy, buying a full ham can quickly cost a lot. In 2022, ham is expected to get even more expensive.
One of the reasons for ham getting more expensive is the result of the pandemic. Back in 2020, when the pandemic took over the world, people were stocking up several kinds of foods and essential products. Many people stocked up on meat, making the supply low.
With each pandemic surge, people are going out and buying more meat to keep in the freezer. This makes the supply more limited and causes the prices to go up.
Pigs are also slower to breed than other animals, causing ham production to take a longer time. This combined with there being a low supply from overconsumption, then the price continues to go up.
There have also been problems of swine fever striking many pigs within the past few years. The disease causes less ham to have the ability to be sold. With fewer pigs, there’s less meat in the stores, which means that prices will go up.
While the different kinds of hams that are available to be purchased all have their own taste, the general taste of ham is sweet and somewhat smokey. Except prosciutto doesn’t have a smokey taste since it is always cured and never smoked.
The taste of ham can be changed by how you glaze it, making it either sweeter or more savory.
Ham is expensive due to the less amount of ham being produced combined with the rise of demand from the pandemic.
Even though ham does have a high salt content, there are many nutritional benefits that ham has that can make it a part of a healthy diet. It’s all about moderation.
No matter what kind of ham is your preferred cut and taste, it can add a lot of protein and flavor to many dishes.