As we head into Easter weekend I’m sure, or at least I hope, you are thawing that large ham to get ready to prep it for Sunday’s feast.
As with any religious holiday, the real meaning of Easter celebrating the risen Lord gets lost in all the other traditions of the holiday — dying eggs, hiding the eggs, bunnies and, of course, the centerpiece ham.
As best as I could find, the origin of ham being the Easter feast was based on convenience. In our less-than-civilized past, refrigeration was not available. So livestock were traditionally slaughtered in the fall to use Mother Nature’s cooling system over the winter.
Hams were prepared in the fall and allowed to properly cure over the winter, making the spring holiday the perfect time to feast on the nice ham.
To make sure that you’re only sharing ham and fixings, as well as good fellowship, the USDA has expanded the hours for the meat and poultry hotline to provide food safety info to consumers.
Now that we know a little bit of why we have ham for Easter, let’s dive into what do we do with the ham that is left over from the feast.
PorkBeInspired.com offers a plethora of ideas of how to prepare the ham for the feast, as well as some ideas of what to do with the leftovers.
As for me, here are my top five ways to “eat” into ham leftovers.
5. Omelets/egg bakes: We like to dice up leftover ham and freeze it, so there’s easy access once we get a hankering for a Sunday morning omelet. If you are having a larger gathering, you can always use the diced ham in what we call an egg bake. Pork Be Inspired has a recipe for Mom’s Brunch Eggs that looks like it could quickly become a family favorite.
4. Ham-and-bean soup provides a nice reminder of the feast of long ago. Freeze the ham bone and some of the ham, and dig it out when the air gets a chill again. Fire up a large pot of this hearty soup that almost becomes a stew if you do it right. We really don’t work from a recipe, we just kind of freelance our way to steamy goodness.
3. Scalloped potatoes and ham are a great, go-to comfort food. Sure, you can go to the trouble of making your own scalloped potatoes, but I think the boxed version works just fine. Of course, when you add ham, you can save any meal from “blah” to “yay!”
2. I think nothing can beat just a nice ham sandwich; OK, maybe a ham-and-cheese sandwich. Just a slab or two of ham between two slices of bread. You can add cheese if you’re into that, and maybe microwave it if you don’t like cold ham. Either way, you can’t beat simple.
And, now for the No. 1 way to enjoy leftover ham: Wait, you mean you have leftover ham? This is a new concept; leftover ham? What’s this world coming to?
Have a blessed Easter with family and friends; and of course, ham.