Crystals in hams....

Discussion in 'Open Forum With Bruce Aidells' started by shroomgirl, Feb 10, 2009.

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  1. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    What causes sugar & or salt crystalization in boneless country hams?
     
  2. bruce aidells

    bruce aidells

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    As the water content reduces it can no longer solublize as much salt and some of it comes out of solution and begins to crystallize. Also some of the crystals may actually come from protein as it ages. The same thing happens to well aged Parmegiano Reggiano cheese.
    B
     
  3. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    That is very interesting I never really understood what causes the crystallization in cheeses. Haven't seen it as much with hams.
     
  4. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    I stuck a Salem County Country ham in the back of the fridge for three years and this New Years Day decided to serve it at brunch, some of my piggy curing chef friends came over and it was a great time to share. They'd not experienced it either. Really good pig. if you've got space in the back of a fridge it's a true treat you'd probably not be able to find on the market.

    And it was very similar to the crystallization of parmesan.
     
  5. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    You lost me three years? I have never heard of aging pork for that long?
     
  6. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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  7. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    I don't know what I was thinking for some reason I was thinking fresh ham not cured. Did not realize what a salem country ham was.
     
  8. bruce aidells

    bruce aidells

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    I have one in the back of my firg athat has been there for 2 years.
     
  9. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    now that there's a vacancy in the back of the fridge it's time to replace that ham, Bruce do you have any suggestions about which hams would be enhanced with aging?
     
  10. bruce aidells

    bruce aidells

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    ones that have the most marbeling
     
  11. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    How do they control rancidity of the fat in such an aged and well marbled ham?

    My gut instinct would have been for a leaner ham to avoid the rancid fat issue.
     
  12. bruce aidells

    bruce aidells

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    Lean hams dry out too much and produce hard dry meat. I have not come across rancidity problems unless the ham is froze a long time.
     
  13. gonefishin

    gonefishin

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    I have been absolutely in love with the flavor/texture/oils from Iberico Bellota. The price is absolutely outrageous if your buying it in the US, which is why I just buy a few slices at a time.

    Do you have a recommendation for a favorite domestic source?

    thanks,
    dan
     
  14. bruce aidells

    bruce aidells

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    Thanks for mentioning the Iberico hams which are 2 years old and taste fantastic.
    As far as I know there are only 2 brands coming into the states right now and both are really fantastic. They are very expensive in Spain as well selling for as much as 150 Euro per kilo sliced.
     
  15. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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    The 1400.00 Ham I had a few monthes ago was aged 7 years, in a cave in Spain I was told.
     
  16. bruce aidells

    bruce aidells

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    My god maybe they will uncover a pre-Roman ham in some cave. Did you get to taste it?
     
  17. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    The Johnston County Ham, from Smithfield NC was really great.....I wanna say I paid about $10 a # or $30ish for the whole small ham. I saved the cloth bag it was buffet style, fully cooked boneless gelatin added, dry cured with salt, sugar, sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite.
    It was sealed in a thick tight placic wrap.....I didn't open it until it's use last new years after it'd been in my fridge for 3+ years....and was aged prior to that. Bought it at Southern Seasons in Chapel Hill NC.....they've got a shipping down pat.
     
  18. bruce aidells

    bruce aidells

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    Johnston County makes a country ham which can be eaten raw like prosciutto which is fabulous.
    B
     
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