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if a ham is too salty how do you reduce that saltyness?

asked by whyo4 over 4 years ago
6 answers 45222 views
Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Creative Director of Food52

added over 4 years ago

The easiest thing would be to just use less of it, surrounded by less salty ingredients. Slice it thinly in a sandwich with lots of fresh vegetables, like avocados, lettuce, tomatoes. Or chop it into small chunks in an under-salted quiche or omelette.

added over 4 years ago

What type of ham is it? Here in the South, we have access to lovely country ham which is very salty. It's soaked in water for about 2 days, then baked. We then slice it very, very thinly to serve. Ham will be salty generally, because that's what makes it ham;)

added over 4 years ago

One of the reasons so many pumped (made with water) hams are soooo sweet, is to hide the saltiness and sodium phosphate (which gives you a soapy taste). I find it very hard to find a properly made ham anymore. I am guessing you probably have a pumped ham, so there is not much that can be done but yell very loudly at the manufacture of the ham. If they reduce the salt and sweetness, you would get a ham that tastes so much better. The days of high amounts of salt used in processed meats is over!


Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 4 years ago

Make a glaze. My basic one for sliced ham fried in a pan is a table spoon of Honey, a touch of allspice, 1/8 tsp of cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp cloves (ground in a mortar or smashed in wax paper with a rolling pin). A shot of orange juice or pineapple juice. Cook the ham until starting to brown....add the juice to deglaze..add the spices. Return the ham to the pan and reduce.

You could also chop it and use it in a fried rice, with onions, bell peppers, a bit of hoisin sauce, and cubed pineapples.

added over 4 years ago

By "ham," I will assume you mean one of those red-brown shanks or butts on a bone, not pieces of pink pork that are pressed together and cured in an airtight oval container.

You can de-brine a ham by soaking it in water, sugar water, Coca Cola, apple juice or any other liquid that isn't salty. The most difficult part is finding a container deep enough to hold the entire ham underwater; if you don't own a deep stock pot, use a Dutch oven or a kitchen sink (which is scrupulously clean, of course) and turn the ham every half hour or so.

Two to four hours in tepid water is usually enough time to draw out enough salt to make it more palatable to you. Longer than four hours is okay, but I'd probably put it in the refrigerator then.

De-salinating doesn't affect the taste or texture of the ham--it just leeches out some of the salt. To give a bigger impression of less salt, pour something sweet over the ham, such as the sauce suggested by Sam1148.

(I don't glaze my hams because I can't stand the taste of cloves or brown sugar in bean or split pea soup made from the leftover ham. I make a glaze or sauce and serve it in a gravy boat on the side.)

added over 4 years ago

if you have leftover ham that's too salty, milk, cheese or milk products (sour cream, cottage cheese etc) will counteract the saltiness. also potato is a good addition to a dish that's been over salted (soups, stew etc). Or combine both & make scalloped potatoes & ham.