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why do you soak a ham before cooking

Hi, Going to attempt the Ginger Glazed Ham. Do I need to soak the gammon overnight to remove excess Saltiness? Jim
If you live in the UK then you probably do not really need to soak your gammon in advance as the cure on most gammon hams is relatively mild. However it is best to read the instructions that come with the gammon and follow the advice from the supplier. If you are still unsure then cut a small piece from the gammon and simmer it for a few minutes in a small pan of water, until cooked.

Cool slightly and taste the cooked ham, you can then tell if your ham needs presoaking or not. If you do want to soak the ham then allow 8 hours for a very small joint and up to 24 hours for a large one. Make sure the gammon is kept cold during the soaking and the water needs to be changed every 6-8 hours (change halfway through for smaller joints). If you live in the US then uncooked hams tend to be very salty (quite often they are country style hams which are cured with salt for up to 3 months) and we would soak the ham for 48 hours before cooking, changing the water every 8 hours.

Uncooked hams are not common in the US but you can buy a fully cooked ham, reheat it following the supplier's instructions and then glaze it (following the Ginger Glazed Ham recipe on p102 of Christmas) for the last 20 minutes of cooking time. Right, I'm going to soak the next one. It's unsmoked gammon from asda extra special range and usually I just stick it in the oven (no boiling) and it comes out lovely.

But the last one was really salty and this time round I bought one from Sainsburys containing dextrose by mistake (won't buy that again) and it is terribly salty too. I'm not sure whether it's that I'm eating more per meal or what, but the first few I had didn't tastle too salty and that's one of the reasons I stuck to buying that particular one. One day I had just ham with a little mayo and small amt lettuce for my lunch and I could barely eat the ham due to the salt.

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