As I was preparing our Easter ham yesterday, I started wondering why that is the meat of choice for so many on this day.
We know a family who serves lamb for Easter which makes perfect sense. John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!”
But why ham?
So I looked it up.
A short Google search indicated that the Easter ham tradition is agricultural in its roots. In the days before refrigeration, families butchered an animal in the fall so that the meat could cure over the winter. Smokey hams were ready for eating about the time of the Easter celebrations.
So there you have it. No spiritual significance but much practicality.
Now that you know why we eat ham, here is how to prepare one:
I like to get the spiral-sliced ones. They simplify the carving process.
My recipe for ham is a blend of the ways your grandmothers cook ham. Nana told me long ago that the secret to ham is “six layers of foil for six hours.” Granny Newton always puts Coke and brown sugar on hers. I do all of these things.
Tear six large rectangular pieces of foil and stack them in alternating directions so that every side has a long edge. If you just stack all six pieces on top of each other, you’ll have trouble covering the ham completely.
Set the layers of foil in a baking pan, being careful not to puncture them.
Mix 1 cup of Coke with 3/4 cup brown sugar
and heat until the sugar dissolves.
Pour the mixture over the ham.
Gather the foil layers, one at a time, and wrap them around the ham until it’s nice and snug.
Place in a 300 degree oven for six hours. (I always bake it the day before we plan to eat it.)
After it bakes, leave the foil in place.
No matter how much you want a bite of ham.
Just put it in the refrigerator until it cools.
Then you’ll have a yummy, tender ham that is ready to serve.
When you’ve eaten all you can hold, you can cut the leftovers in chunks and freeze them for quiche or pizza. Just remember to double-wrap to avoid freezer burn.
Happy Easter, guys! Always remember the joy and hope we’ve been given.
I love you,