Yes, they are. Uncured ham can be eaten directly and can also be cooked further to your preference. For most people, it is pretty confusing as most consider cured ham to be cooked and uncured ham as uncooked.
This is not true as uncured ham is just fresh ham that salt, nitrate, and other forms of preservatives have not been added to. They are generally leaner and healthier than cured ham but also more expensive.
If you want to know what cured and uncured ham is, whether uncured ham is safe and healthy to eat or how to cook your uncured ham to get the best flavor out of them, then you should read on.
What is ham?
Ham is pork cut from the hind or leg of a pig. Either fresh or preserved through a curing process. For you to get a better understanding of uncured ham, you must first know what cured ham is.
What is cured ham?
Cure ham is ham that has been treated, mostly with salt, nitrate, and other additives or preservative. This process gives them a unique texture and flavor.
This is the type of ham you usually see in grocery stores, and they are often smoked or cooked before being eaten. There are different kinds of cured hams, such as prosciutto, serrano and jamon.
What is uncured ham?
Uncured ham is ham that has not been treated with any kind of preservative. They are usually cut from pigs that have been raised without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones.
They are also called fresh ham, and it has a pale pink color that differs from cured ham which has a reddish pink color. This is because of the nitrate used in preserving them.
You can find uncured ham at the grocery store, but they are mostly labeled as fresh or natural pork.
SEE: Where Does Ham Come From On A Pig?
Is it safe to eat uncured ham?
Most people question if the uncured ham is a safe choice, the truth is that it is very safe. Unlike cured ham, it is natural, but there are steps to make sure it is safer to consume for you.
It would be best if you kept in mind that excess intake may ultimately affect the safety of your diet. So always moderate your portion.
A good choice is to also remembered to cook the ham to a safe cooking degree. This is between 145 – 160 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid food poisoning.
Avoid eating ham that has been sitting at room temperature for a long time. This is because ham grows bacteria rapidly if they are not refrigerated on time.
Always purchase your ham from a reputable store, as most locally produced uncured ham may contain bacteria.
Are cured ham better than uncured ham?
No, they are not. Uncured ham is seen as a healthier alternative, and this is because they are more natural than cured ham.
Cured ham is preserved with nitrates, and these nitrates can turn to nitrosamine. This nitrosamine can cause cancer in the lungs, brain, stomach, nasal sinus, kidney, and stomach. In contrast, uncured ham does not carry these risks.
Also, for people who are sensitive to salt or monitoring their sodium intake, uncured ham has considerably fewer amounts of salt in them. Unlike cured ham, which is mainly preserved in salt and nitrate.
In terms of price, uncured ham is still a better choice. They are cheaper than the cured ham, which is valued at a high price because of the smoking and flavoring process they pass through.
Although cured ham is more common than uncured ham, they are also considered to taste better.
How to cook uncured ham?
You can cook uncured ham with an oven, stovetop, or even in a slow cooker. It is important you cook the ham slowly and at low temperatures; this would help prevent the ham from drying out.
When cooking ham in the oven, simply place it on the baking dish, add water or chicken broth and cover it properly. Bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit per pound.
When cooking ham with a stovetop, simply place it in a pot, and add water or chicken broth. Allow the water to simmer and cook for 30 minutes per pound.
When cooking ham with the slow cooker, place it inside the slow cooker with water or chicken broth. Allow it to cook for 6 – 8 hours at low heat.
You can also smoke uncured ham; simply smoke it for approximately 10 hours. Although it is lengthy, the smoking process gives the ham a bacon-like taste.
When thawing stored uncured ham, make sure you thoroughly heat it till it is steaming hot. You should avoid microwaving as it may affect the texture of the ham.
SEE: Can You Refreeze Ham Even After Thawing It?
How to store uncured ham?
Ham can be stored in the refrigerator and also in the freezer. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, in the refrigerator, it can last up to 4 or 5 days, and in the freezer, ham can last up to 6 – 8 months.
Do not let ham sit at room temperature for too long as it may start growing mold. If ham gives off a bad smell, you should throw it out instead, as it may be bad already.
SEE: How Long Does Sliced Ham Last?
What is the major difference between cured and uncured ham?
Cured ham is ham that has been preserved in sodium nitrate, salt, and other preservatives, whereas uncured is not.
What does uncured ham taste like?
It tastes the same as cured ham but with a slightly sweeter and less salty flavor.
Is honey baked ham cured?
Yes, it is. However, there are few places where uncured honey baked ham is found.
How many calories are a slice of ham?
There are approximately 30 calories in a regular slice of ham.
Conclusion: Is uncured ham cooked?
Uncured ham is cooked; it can be eaten like that or also cooked further to your preference. It can be a great addition to your meal, and you can enjoy it with potatoes, vegetables, soup, sandwiches, and casseroles.
Always remember to prepare your ham with the steps mentioned above, and ensure you store your ham correctly.
I hope you enjoyed this article, if you did, you should also see what happens if you eat bad ham.
Thank you for reading this article.