Good Question: How Do I Choose an Easter Ham?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We noticed this good question from reader rosebud in the current Open Thread, and we wanted to bump it up for everyone to see. She writes:

I really want to make a ham for Easter but wonder if it is foolhardy to do so for only 2 adults and 1 toddler. I’ve never seen hams come in small sizes and have no idea what to plan for: bone-in, “country”, boneless, etc. I don’t mind leftovers as I know we’ll put them to good use but I don’t want to be inundated with leftovers either. If it isn’t feasible for such a small number of people, I’ll go with lamb chops.

Ham is a very inexpensive option, as meats go, but it’s also a little confusing. Cooked, uncooked, cold, country, bone-in, spiral… too many options! Here’s one article from Fine Cooking that demystifies some of the options:

Which Ham to Buy? at Fine Cooking

One notable point is that they advise against spiral-sliced hams, which are bone-in hams that have been sliced before packaging. The writer feels that these dry out easily, and our own experience bears that up.

Here are three more good resources on buying a ham for Easter:

A guide to the right Easter ham for you – Illustrated with photos
Ham 101 at What’s Cooking America
Easter ham: What to buy, how to carve at The Chicago Tribune

The last article points out that people often like bone-in hams because then they use the bone for soup (or beans!).

Overall, hams come in many different shapes, sizes, and price ranges. They can be cooked or uncooked. That very flexibility makes them a great choice for a small family, because you can choose something to fit your appetites, and your time schedule. What about serving a small (6-pound or so) ham that you eat for a couple of days, and then, as several commenters mentioned, freeze the rest in cubes or strips? These are great for quick breakfast casseroles or easy dinners.

Readers – are you serving a ham for Easter? Any tips?

(Image: Evans Caglage for The Dallas Morning News)