Home » How to Ham in 2021

In these uncertain times, perfecting one small thing can help brighten the outlook somewhat. In the lead up to this year’s festive season, a glazed ham makes a very good ‘one small thing’.

Read on for our guide to perfect Freedom Farmed Christmas hams… 

A ham for any occasion

Whether you’re going all-out or keeping it low-key, hosting the family at yours or gathering in a park this year, acing the ham is something you can start working towards now. (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t really take much work – just a bit of forward thinking, which we’ve done for you, so do read on…)

How much ham? 

Probably the question we’re asked most is what size ham should I get? This is tricky because everyone has different ideas around how long they’d like to have ham leftovers for, how many other meats are on your table, and how hungry your guests are likely to be on Christmas Day… as a very rough rule of thumb, we suggest the following:

Champagne Ham – allow 180g per person
Ham on the Bone – allow 200g per person

Country of Origin

We source our hams from a group of independently audited farmers in Aotearoa who value the same things we do: a farming system that is kinder for farm animals, takes it easy on the environment, and supports a food system that we feel really, really proud of. 

There’s still lots of tricky business happening with labels on pork… if you’re planning on supporting NZ producers this year please ask the hard questions about where the pork came from… ESPECIALLY if the label says ‘Made in NZ from local and imported ingredients’. 

What Style of Ham?

Figuring out what style of ham works for you depends on a few variables…

  • The logistics of carving and serving your ham
  • How much space you’re willing to allocate in your fridge
  • Whether the ham is the star attraction or the supporting act

Our Champagne Ham

A more modern version of traditional ham on the bone, the ham is partially deboned (leaving just the hock) and massaged back into shape. It’s super tender, and takes up less room in your fridge. Comes in three sizes. 

Whole Champagne Ham 
7-9kg – a crowd-pleaser
Half Champagne Ham
4-5kg – great for a smaller gathering
Quarter Champagne Ham
Approx. 2kg – perfect for picnics and wee get togethers


Our Ham on the Bone

Our traditional Christmas ham – we produce a limited run each festive season. Expect spectacular flavour imparted by cooking with the bone-in. Comes in two sizes.

Whole Ham on the Bone 
8-10kg – a centrepiece for any big festive table
Half Ham on the Bone
4-5kg – big on flavour without the headache of too many leftovers

An Important Message about Whole Hams

If you’re in the market for a whole ham PLEASE track one down ASAP. Aside from those that have been pre-ordered – either thru your local grocery store or Farro – these will sell out very very quickly. 

If you can’t track down a whole ham… buying a mix of half and quarter sizes is an increasingly popular choice – you can do a half ham for your festive table, and take a quarter away with you to the bach, or even do two smaller hams with different glazes to add some choices to your Christmas table. 

Ham Prep 101

All our hams are pre-cooked, but it’s so worth the minimal effort of glazing them for maximum impact in both looks and taste. 

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Remove ham from packaging and remove brown tape from the hock if there is one.
  3. If the ham has a hock, cut a line around the base of it so you can retain the skin on the hock when removing from the rest of the ham.
  4. 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 biff it!
  5. With a sharp knife, gently score the fat in a cross hatch pattern, gently so as not to cut into the meat below. Scoring looks pretty, but also helps keep the glaze from sliding off 
  6. Pop the removed skin in a baking dish, and place the ham on top of it. Add a little water to the dish… enough to cover the skin without touching the ham too much. This keeps any glaze drips from burning in the pan and keeps your ham moist and glossy.
  7. Glaze the ham. We recommend basting the ham with extra glaze during cooking, and also spooning over some of the lovely pan juices to give the ham a nice sheen. Bake for 10 mins per kilo at 160℃ to set the glaze, and 20 mins per kilo if you want to serve your ham hot.
  8. Get someone else to do the dishes!

Glaze of glory

You don’t have to glaze a ham, but a glaze adds flavour, colour, and texture… thank you, caramelisation! You’ll want about 1 cup of glaze for every 3kg of ham. You can get as experimental as you like with what goes in your glaze, but overall you’re looking to balance sweet and acid, and boost the depth with spices and possibly a lick of heat… the ham itself provides all the umami you need in this gathering of flavours. You can go large and add a lot of elements to your glaze, but simple three-ingredient glazes can be equally excellent. 

  • When making a glaze cook the ingredients briefly, to amalgamate them; too long and you’ll 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  – brush a little on 10 mins before the end of cooking time and you’ll be rewarded with an extra shiny finish.

Our Fav Hot’n’Sweet Glaze

This quantity will glaze a half Champagne ham with perhaps a little left over. Double the recipe for whole hams. Leftover glaze can be kept in a jar in the fridge and used the next day – try brushing on French toast as it grills for your Boxing Day breakfast. 

½ cup freshly squeezed OJ
⅔ cup Sweet Sting hot honey
⅓ cup golden rum*
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
⅓ cup Old Yella mustard
1 clove garlic, grated
thumbnail-sized piece ginger, grated
½ tsp cinnamon

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10 mins, till starting to thicken a little. 

*If you like a pronounced spice profile, locally made Honest Rum is perfect here!


Safe hamming
and lovely leftovers

  • Freedom Farms hams are naturally wood-smoked and fully cooked. Food safety regulations stipulate we do have to use a preservative, but we use as little as possible.
  • Whether you’re serving your ham hot or cold, don’t leave it out on the bench for too long and always pack up and chill leftovers right away.
  • In the fridge, keep your ham on a shelf low down where the temperature is more stable, covered in a clean pillowcase (soaked in water with a dash of white vinegar if you’re worried about keeping it moist) and get through it as fast as you can.
  • The bone from cooked hams is not safe for dogs – it can shatter and cause injuries to their throats and tummies. It’s brilliant for making stock, though – pop it in the freezer and pull it out when you’re feeling ready.

Got Questions?

No sweat, we’re here to help! Flick us a message at us@freedomfarms.co.nz and we’ll get back to you ASAP. If you’re standing in the supermarket and need an answer right now, call us on 09 366 0448.

Where to buy?

You should be able to find Freedom Farms hams at all the usual places you find our products. Ask at the butchery counter if you can’t see what you’re after.

Countdown are stocking Quarter Champagne Hams. New World, Pak’NSave and Fresh Choice have a range of styles and sizes. Farro in Auckland have online pre-orders available, and Moore Wilsons in Wellington have plenty available in-store.

Join The Breakfast Club – we send a monthly email inspired by the best meal of the day. No hard sells, no pushy marketing… just great eating.

Happy Eating!

Let’s not beat around the bush – for many of us it’s been a rocky year. We can’t tell you how grateful we are to be ending 2021 with nearly 90% of us vaccinated so we can bid a less-than-fond farewell to lockdowns and get on with all the stuff we’d rather be doing.

Lots of our conversations with customers over the past couple of months have been tinged with uncertainty – so let’s make this easy: don’t pile the pressure on this Christmas. If you need tips on how to plan your prep and recruit your support crew, check out the Christmas 2020 edition of The Omnivore (and sign up if you haven’t already!). If you need to make Christmas a bring-a-plate picnic in the park affair – do it. We’re not judging.