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In memory of Mother: Recipe for baking a ham

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Baking a ham for Easter is certainly a rare treat for many. Mother looked forward to baking a ham for Easter. Now, it’s not like we never ate ham throughout the year. Ham was more of a breakfast food served with eggs. Ham was purchased in thick slices already cooked. But, I would have to say that nothing can take the place of a freshly baked ham. The following is a set of standard procedures for those interested in learning how to bake a ham:

*To make clean up easier, line one’s roasting pan with aluminum foil.

*Do not add water to the roaster.

*To avoid drying out ham, cook slowly at 325 degrees F. Allow 20 to 30 minutes per pound for ham that has not been precooked (follow directions on label for precooked hams).

*Begin roasting ham by placing fat side up, the melting fat will baste one’s ham. Turn ham over half way through baking to avoid uneven salting form the brine in the meat.

*For a crisp surface on one’s ham, be sure the oven is preheated before placing the ham into the oven in an uncovered pan.

*Do not use sharp utensils that may pierce the ham when trying to turn it. The piercing allows valuable juices to escape. Use other utensils, such as wooden spoons and spatulas for turning the meat.

*Use proper cooking times and temperatures. Do not overcook pork or it will become dry and tough. The threat of trichinosis is eliminated when the pork is heated to 137 degrees F but the USDA recommends cooking pork to 145 degrees F to be safe. Cooking to 145 degrees F will result in clear or slightly pink tinted juices from the juicy and tender meat.

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