Libby’s Recipes: Country Ham

This is the time of year I break down and purchase a country ham – a cured ham. I cook it the way my mother did – on the stovetop in boiling water.

Country Ham
Country ham
1 cup brown vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon whole cloves
Water to cover ham

Scrub ham well with stiff brush to remove mold. Soak about 10-12 hours, changing water as it becomes cloudy. This removes some of the salt and gives ham more moisture. Scrub again after soaking if necessary.
In large pot with a heavy bottom, place ham and other ingredients. Boil gently 20 minutes per pound of ham. Turn ham halfway through cooking time. Add water as needed to keep ham covered. When cooking time is up, remove pot from burner and allow ham to cool in the cooling water. Skin ham when it cools enough to handle and wrap well in foil to refrigerate.  Slice as thinly as possible.
I usually cut the ham in half and cook half for Thanksgiving and half for Christmas. Be sure to refrigerate ham (even uncooked ham) as soon as it is cut.
I also have a shallow cooking rack that was Mama’s that I place under the ham to cook. If you don’t use a rack, be sure your pot has a heavy, thick bottom.