How to Age a Ham In Your Home
Q: Where's the best place to hang an aging ham in your home?
Occasionally, we have customers who will buy an uncooked
Edwards Country Ham and take it home to let it age for more time, even months on end in some cases. The reasoning is that the ham's increased flavor development provides a more delicious experience the longer you let the meat age for. To do so, you need to find the perfect spot for your ham, let it hang for however long you'd like, then cook, and enjoy! It requires some patience, but often the taste is worth the wait.
So, where should you choose for your perfect ham-hanging spot? The answer is in several parts:
- It's essential to look for a cool spot for your aging process. Temperature plays a significant role in making sure the aging process is safe and keeping your meat edible, so choose your hanging place wisely. If you don't live in an area that doesn't stay very cool, you might need to look for refrigeration options or avoid aging during the hot months. As for the right spots around the home, it's typically spaces that are less temperature regulated, so no need to worry about hanging your ham up next to the TV in the living room or the corner of your bedroom. Shoot for a garage, basement, or attic, so long as those areas don't fluctuate with your heating unit.
- Moisture poses a similar problem as heat, as it invites all sorts of unsavory things to work their way into the ham. An excellent dry location is more likely to allow the meat to remain untouched and enable the aging process to run smoothly.
- Pests are a danger to meats, especially when aging. It's something to keep in mind when considering a more risky area like a garage that is continuously exposed to the outside world. The good news is, pests are much more apparent than the other factors at play, and you can surely see when they have ruined the meat. Keep an eye out for critters, and keep your hams in an enclosed space if you can.
- While it may seem like a chore, hanging a ham is a crucial part of aging! The weight of the ham pressing onto one side is sure to cause problems and can sour the half that the ham is resting on. Grab a hook and get that thing hanging from the ceiling, and you'll be rewarded with aged flavor!
While an uncooked Edwards country ham is great when purchased, aging it on your own makes it into an extra special occasion! Buy in March, hang until Thanksgiving, and you're sure to have a memorable meal for all of the family to enjoy; plus, you'll have an extra stake in the meat! We want to be sure you get your money's worth by aging right and not losing the ham. Now, there are always unforeseen risks when aging a ham on your own - so please use caution. If this is your first time, don't bet your entire Thanksgiving dinner on your homemade aged ham. That being said, it can be an excellent way to educate yourself on an age-old tradition.
We'd love to see your at-home ham hanging setups. Be sure to tag us on Instagram!