In the past, the niceties of curing and dressing hams were known to every good housewife - she had to rub the ham with salt and brown sugar and lay it in an earthen crock with more salt, black treacle, saltpetre (which gives it its lovely pink colour) spices and sometimes ale or cider over 3 to 5 days. It had to be turned and inspected and finally hung up to dry and smoke inside the big kitchen chimney, then stored, wrapped in a cloth, until it was needed. When the time came to cook the ham it had to be soaked for up to a week to relieve it of its preserving salt. Then it had to be cooked, skinned, crumbed, cooled - and at last was ready for slicing.Although few people cure ham at home today, there are still a number of different cures going strong in this country. Of the more traditional there are York hams, famous all over the world - firm, mild, pink and succulent; Bradenham, black-skinned and deep red in colour, cured in black treacle and full of flavour and Wiltshire which is cured with bacon and is therefore, strictly speaking, gammon. This keeps less well and is milder than other hams. Where I get my sausage skins etc, they sell cures and etc.http://www.sausagemaking.org/acatalog/C ... ducts.html
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