Our Christmas Hams
Where to buy?
We really really appreciate you going to the trouble of tracking down a Freedom Farms ham! The best place to start your hunt is your local grocery store or specialty food store… butchers tend to be a pretty jovial bunch, so don’t be scared to ask them what Freedom Farms hams they have in stock or on order.
Some other top tips…
- Shop early. Don’t wait until Christmas week to buy your ham… many stores only get one or two deliveries, so once they’re gone, there won’t be any more.
- We don’t do online sales – sorry! If you’re in Auckland, you can pre-order a ham online (for instore pickup) from Farro Fresh, or via the online stores for Countdown, New World or Pak’n’Save.
- We’ve seen a big reduction in orders for the really big hams this year… but there is still time to ask your local grocery store to order one in for you – head to the butchery counter.
- Or, buy two smaller hams! One for Christmas Day, and one for the BBQ in the lazy summer days post-Christmas.
- Remember… if it doesn’t have the Freedom Farms logo on it… it’s not a Freedom Farms ham. There are lots of tricky things going on out there, so ask lots of questions!
Ham Prep 101
1. Wash your hands.
2. Remove ham from packaging.
3. Remove brown protective tape from bone (if there is any).
4. If the ham has a hock, cut a line around the bones so you can keep the skin on the hock when removing it from the rest of the ham.
5. To remove the skin, slide your fingers under the thick skin and wiggle them around to loosen it, taking care to leave as much of the soft white fat intact as possible (the fat is where the flavour lives, so don’t be stingy!). Try to take the skin off in nice big pieces – and don’t throw away!
6. With a sharp knife, score the ham in a cross-hatch pattern – you just want to cut through the fat, not the meat below. Scoring the ham looks pretty, but it also helps keep the glaze from sliding off when you bake it.
7. Pop the removed skin in a roasting dish, and place the ham on top of it. Add a little water to the dish… just enough to cover the skin without touching the ham too much. This will keep any glaze drips from burning in the pan and keep your ham moist and glossy.
8. Glaze the ham with a glaze of your choice. To avoid the sugars burning, we recommend brushing the ham lightly with glaze before baking. Then about half way through cook time, take ham out, apply remaining glaze and return to oven. 15 mins from the end of cook time, take it out and spoon over some of the lovely pan juices to give the ham a nice sheen. Recommended heating times are set out below.
9. Get someone else to do the dishes!
Our hams are gently wood-smoked, cooked and ready to eat… but glazing is 100% worth the effort!
How much ham?
The amount of ham you serve each person depends on tons of things… like what else is on the menu, how big everyone’s appetite is likely to be, and how many days worth of leftovers you’re hoping for. As a rough guide, we suggest:
Ham on the bone: 220g per person
Champagne Ham: 180g per person
Be food safe!
Whether you’re serving hot or cold, please practice good hygiene and don’t leave a ham out on the bench too long!
Put a ham on the BBQ…
Cooking your ham on the barbecue puts a summery twist on things…and frees up valuable space in the oven! Follow the same instructions for oven cooking, and cook in a lidded barbecue… we’ll leave the gas or charcoal debate up to you! Just take into account that each time you open and close the lid, a barbecue can take a bit longer than an oven would to get back up to temperature.
Skin in the game…
Seems like a waste, peeling off that thick skin. Our recommended cooking method sees it used as a bed for the ham to rest on as it cooks, but there’s life in it yet after that. Slice up leftover rind and…
Pop into the pot when making stock.
Put in a stew, soup, or pot of beans as it cooks, to add flavour, and remove before serving.
If you’re a keen kitchen experimenter, you might like to try making scratchings from the rind. After removing it from the ham, mop skin dry and deep fry for 5 mins or so in vegetable oil at 160℃. Then, bake in the oven at 190℃ on a rack set over a tray, so remaining fat drains off, until crisp. Cool completely, and you should have crunchy scratchings. Bear in mind the rind is already salted… so just a wee sprinkle to garnish should suffice.
Glaze of Glory
You don’t have to glaze a ham, but a glaze adds flavour, colour, texture to a ham… thank you, caramelisation! As a rule of thumb, you’ll want about 1 cup glaze for every 3kg ham. You can get as experimental as you like with what goes in your glaze, but overall you’re looking to balance sweetness and acid, and boost the depth of flavour with spices… the ham itself is all the umami you need in this union. You can go large and add a lot of elements to your glaze, but simple three-ingredient glazes can be equally excellent.
Maple syrup / soft brown sugar / muscovado / coconut sugar / rapadura / coconut nectar / molasses / Manuka honey / jam / marmalade / rum / whisky / ginger beer / peach or nectarine
Citrus juice / apple cider vinegar / malt vinegar / coconut vinegar / pineapple / whole grain mustard / Dijon mustard
As well as the ubiquitous cloves, to stud each diamond of fat… cinnamon / star anise / fennel / pink peppercorns / Aleppo pepper / garlic / chipotle / jalapeno
- When making a glaze you only want to cook the ingredients briefly, to amalgamate them; you don’t want to cook too long and start caramelising the sugars before the main event!
- Apply glaze with a pastry brush – we recommend the silicon kind as it doesn’t shed bristles!
- On top of whatever glaze you are using, you can apply a final glaze of honey or maple syrup – just brush some on 10 mins before the end of cooking time and you’ll be rewarded with an extra shiny finish.
Peach, Jalapeno + Cider Vinegar Glaze
In a saucepan put the 2-3 ripe peaches, cut into small dice (or use 1 400g can peaches, drained and diced), ¼ cup soft brown sugar, ½ cup apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp lime or lemon juice, 2 Tbsp very finely chopped jalapeno (fresh or drained jarred), 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp sea salt. Bring almost to a boil then lower to a quick simmer and cook, stirring, for 4-5 mins until the peach has softened. If the mixture is still a bit chunky, cool slightly and blitz in a blender.
Rum + Marmalade Glaze
In a saucepan put ⅓ cup dark or golden rum, ⅓ cup marmalade, 2 Tbsp malt vinegar, 2 tsp allspice, 1 tsp nutmeg. Bring almost to a boil then lower to a quick simmer and cook for 3-4 mins, stirring to combine.
Pineapple + Mustard Glaze
In a saucepan put ½ 400g tin crushed pineapple, ¼ cup Dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 Tbsp coconut sugar, ½ tsp cloves,1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp sea salt. Bring almost to a boil then lower to a quick simmer and cook for 3-4 mins, stirring to combine.
Ham all on its own is a beautiful thing, but having a couple of condiments on the table doesn’t hurt. A good mustard or relish of some kind is never a bad idea, but there are also other great partners to take ham to the ball.
- Tamarind chutney
- Fresh peach relish – Combine finely diced firm peach flesh (or mango) and mix with finely sliced shallots, lime juice, chopped coriander or mint, Aleppo pepper and a touch of sea salt.
- Home made bread & butter pickles
- Home made chilli & lime mayo
- Quick pickles – in a saucepan add 2 parts vinegar of choice, 1 part water, seasonings such as salt, peppercorns, paprika, chilli flakes, cumin, and heat almost to boiling point then cool and pour over thin moons of radish, thinly sliced red onion, or diced watermelon to cover. Let cool then chill until ready to serve.
- Applesauce – a fave with roast pork, it also goes great with ham. Bought varieties can be very sweet, so you might like to try making your own using Granny Smiths or old-fashioned tart cooking apples if you can find them.
- Champagne mustard – yes, your favourite mustard, whisked with a bit of the good stuff – also works with whisky or beer, and you can add chilli, chopped tarragon, thyme or oregano, or honey, as you like.
The After Party
The crackers are cracked, the bellies are full. Leftover ham is best kept whole (so be judicious when carving it) and wrapped in a slightly damp clean ham bag, or clean cotton. There’s no need for soaking the bag in vinegar or wiping the ham with vinegar, unless you’re wanting to somehow feel at one with your ancestors who lacked refrigeration.
For brekkie… Ham and egg hash with whatever else you have going – potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, herb / eggs bene sitting on thick slices of ham fried in butter, topped with crisp sage leaves / ham fried rice / ham, egg and cheese brekkie pizza.
… Ham fried rice is the breakfast of champions! Use day-old rice straight from the fridge, and dice ham into small pieces and marinate for ten mins before cooking in a blend of soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. Get your pan or wok smoking hot and be generous with the oil. Push the rice to the side, crack some eggs in and scramble before stirring it all together with a good glug of oyster sauce, a little more soy, and a splash of Shaoxing cooking wine if you have it. Add whatever veggies take your fancy: chopped gai lan, cooked peas, garlic scapes, spring onion. Serve topped with crisp fried shallots, with Laoganma chilli and black bean sauce on the side.
For picnics and lunches… pinwheel scones with ham, vintage cheddar and piccalilli / ham, mozzarella and pesto stromboli / kimbap (Korean rice rolls) filled with strips of ham, pickled daikon, omelette, blanched spinach, and kimchi
For dinners… ham and new potato salad with black olives and cornichons / ham and scalloped potato bake / ham and pea tagliatelle with lemon zest and cream sauce / black bean and ham tacos with pickled red onions and avocado cream
For desserts… just kidding! (But never say never, hmmm…)
For Boxing Day parties… ham and mozzarella arancini / ham and pea croquettes with aoili / ham and sweetcorn mini fritters with tomato relish / thin slices of ham wrapped around blanched asparagus and lemon mayo
Ultimate ham sando
Decisions, decisions… what goes into the most delicious ham sandwich comes down to preference… sourdough, brioche, or rye? Piccalilli, relish, or nothing sharp at all? Mayo or aioli? Simple or stacked? So let’s break it down to components…
The bread – think about how much you’re in the mood for chewing… if you’re feeling energetic, sourdough brings a lovely complexity to the sando party. Go multigrain if you want more texture. Dark rye for a sophisticated touch. Sliced brioche loaf makes a lovely soft surround and adds a sweet touch that complements the ham. You may like to lightly toast the bread first – it brings out more flavour and introduces a subtle crunch that somehow elevates the whole experience…
Butter the bread – it’s just not the same without!
The ham – go with thick slices, or layer on thinner slices. Go decadent and fry the slices of ham first in butter with a touch of maple syrup, to coat them in a sticky golden sheen.
The sauce – at least one saucy element, if not more, makes the sandwich eating experience a smooth one. Mayo or something egg-and-oil based is a silky given; either keep it simple with a straight mayo or go down a flavoured route – garlicky (aka aioli), herby, chipotle, curried, harissa, wasabi, honey mustard… all very respectable decisions. A mustard, chutney or relish cuts through richness and can add spice notes as well as sweetness and/or heat. Pesto is a possibility – green or red. Some like a hot sauce addition, be it sriracha, habanero, or tabasco.
The salad – lettuce, rocket, or baby spinach for soft greenery, or cabbage slaw for solid crunch. Grated carrot with its sweetness pairs nicely with the ham. Sliced beetroot (controversial). Sliced tomato – a beefy variety with less seeds and water content will help avoid sog. Avocado. Alfalfa sprouts or microgreens. Thinly sliced rings of onion. Sliced dill pickles.
Cheese – takes a ham sandwich to next-level richness which is either welcome, or not. Try vintage cheddar, smoked cheddar, buffalo mozzarella, provolone, Gruyere or Emmental.
Vital – a good grind of black pepper and a smattering of salt.
Above and beyond – curried egg-spread. Grilled streaky bacon (double the flavour). Potato crisps. Peanut butter and banana – Elvis did it with bacon, let’s try it with leftover ham. Thinly sliced firm peach, or apple. Pineapple salsa. Celeriac remoulade. Waldorf salad.