Storing a Country Ham

I just bought my first Virginia ham. It arrived yesterday in a string bag, wrapped in brown paper. This is exciting because it foretells many bowls of grits with red-eye gravy, velvety beans, and thin, raw slices atop biscuits and baguettes.

But I'm not sure how best to store this ham. No one in my living family has ever bought a whole ham to use more like charcuterie than a holiday centerpiece. Googling brings up contradictory, not-particularly-authoritative advice about freezing, refrigerating, and hanging it up at room temperature in a dry room. My current thought is loosely swaddling it in waxed paper and keeping it in the fridge.

If you've stored a whole prosciutto or country ham before, how did you go about it? What worked well over a period of a few months? [Bonus question: What was your favorite dish to make with it?]


Kate K
  • Posted by: Kate K
  • November 20, 2016


Kate K. November 20, 2016
Thanks to the three of you!
AntoniaJames November 20, 2016
When do you plan to eat it? If you plan to eat it this week, you should start soaking it. It takes at least 2 to 3 days, or more, regularly changing the water, depending on the size of the ham, to soak it enough to make it edible. ;o)
Lindsay-Jean H. November 20, 2016
Ali, our Books Editor, had a leg of prosciutto and wrote about how to store (and slice) it here:
sandy P. November 20, 2016
I have kept a large ham in my unheated mud room for a few weeks every December. I wrap it loosely in foil and put it in a fridge if it is unseasonably warm. We are in Connecticut. I cannot remember any spoilage ever.
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