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The Difference Between Commercial and Artisan Ham

What’s the difference between commercial and artisan ham?

I suspect that you’ve never thought too deeply about ham other than to select the kind you like most. Or in some cases, you choose whatever was most available.

There are quite a few varieties. There’s honey-baked, Black Forest, white, smoked, prosciutto and the list goes on. If you’ve been into our shop you’ll even notice that we make a delicious variety called coconut ham.

The noticeable differences between ham types are the flavor but there is another important difference.

But before I explain the difference between commercial ham and the healthier alternative, artisan or natural cure, let’s first cover how ham is made in the first place.

Ham is made by soaking the leg of a pig in salty water to brine it. As we covered in our article entitled, The Art Of Making Good Sausages, the oldest form of meat preservation is done by using salt. 

Nowadays it’s not just salt that’s used. There are now additives used to persevere the flavor, texture, and color. Some butchers use a commercial cure using commercial nitrates that are combined with the salt to aid the curing process. These nitrates add to the flavor and give the ham a bluish pink color.

An alternative to commercial cures is to use a natural cure made with nitrates derived from celery.

Plants such as celery and spinach have naturally occurring nitrates in them. By using these plants in addition to salt you can safely cure a ham. Ham with natural nitrates is not quite as rosy pink and a little more grey. Don’t be put off the color as this is how the ham should look.

Once a ham is cured it’s smoked at a low temperature which imparts a smoky flavor into the meat. After the ham is smoked, you can enjoy in a sandwich or on it’s own.

At Meat & Meet, we use natural cures using celery juice powder so our ham is more healthy than the commercial variety. We also believe that it’s better tasting than the alternative.

Why don’t you come into the store and try a sample for yourself? We’re confident that once you taste our naturally brined and smoked ham you’ll never want to buy any other.

Visit Meat & Meet Market

Visit our market store located at Le Phare Bleu Marina and check out our artisan hams. We can easily be accessed by car or dinghy. And make sure to get our price list and sign up for our newsletter to hear about our weekly specials, recipes, locally sourced goodies, and much more. Leave your name and email below.

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