How to make your own ham
Hams made now will be perfect for Christmas! Making your own taps into slow food traditions stretching back centuries, and results in a delicious, nutritious and chemical free foodstuff that lasts well in the fridge, and feeds family and friends with great style and flavour.
Here on the farm we make a ham every so often using Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evan's technique, which you can read about here.
In short, the ham is tidied up a bit, beaten or massaged to tenderise the meat fibres, and laid down in a bed of salt which draws out moisture, usually for a couple of weeks. It is weighted down during this time, which squishes moisture out of it. A ham which will be hung in this manner is on-the-bone.
After that, it is hung in a cool space such as a garage for 3-6 months, or sometimes even longer. We have found that good air flow around the ham works well. You will find that a bloom of white or blue mould grows on the outside - this is a natural protective process. The mould can simply be brushed off. Contrary to what you might think, the ham will not necessarily attract insects, but if you're concerned you can contain it in a loose weave hessian bag.