Cured vs. Uncured Ham: Which Is Better?

Ham is constructed from the hind leg of a hog. Fresh, uncured ham is an unpreserved leg of pork, whereas cured ham is processed ham that’s preserved by moist or dry curing which will embody smoking. The curing course of can also embody including a mix of sugar, salt, and different flavors.

The shade of cured ham shall be pink or deep rose. Prosciutto and nation hams are dry cured; subsequently, their shade ranges from pink to mahogany. Fresh hams, then again, shall be pale pink or beige—the colour of a contemporary pork roast.

In this text, we are going to proceed to elucidate the traits of cured vs. uncured ham. We may also focus on the right way to cook dinner uncured ham and cured ham, and which ham is healthier, in addition to the right way to retailer every ham.

Cured vs. Uncured Ham: What Is the Difference?

What is the distinction between cured vs. uncured ham? To reply that, let’s first deal with the query, “What does cured ham imply, precisely?” Cured ham is made by including synthetic nitrates or nitrites like sodium nitrite or potassium nitrite, sugar, phosphates, and different seasonings and preservatives to an everyday combination of salt and brine.

Nitrites are essential for curing as a result of they assist forestall bacterial development on meat.

If not correctly preserved, the ham would decompose quickly. Most meat can’t be saved at room temperature with out spoiling, and consumption of spoiled meat could cause meals poisoning, like botulism attributable to Clostridium botulinum. Cured meat subsequently has a major shelf-life.

You could make cured ham your self. For a home-cured ham, you’ll both smoke it or pack it with salt, sugar, and different flavors.

Dry curing is one other course of used to make prosciutto and nation ham. This is the place contemporary ham is rubbed with a dry combination of salt and different components. As a end result, a dry-cured ham will style fairly salty.

Now, what does uncured ham imply? Simply put, uncured ham has not been cured with sodium nitrites. Instead, it’s cured with a celery combination, which has natural-occurring nitrites, sea salt, and different flavors like beet and parsley extracts. Uncured ham will subsequently be labeled: “No nitrites or nitrates added.”

Cured vs. Uncured Ham: Which Is Better?

When it involves cured vs. uncured ham, which is healthier?

This query typically comes all the way down to the nitrites added to cured ham. Again, the nitrites are added as a preservative to forestall and/or delay bacterial development, which might trigger botulism.

However, nitrites in ham and different meats are additionally related to the next threat of most cancers. This is as a result of within the abdomen, nitrites convert to nitrosamines, that are thought-about lethal carcinogens.

A meta-analysis revealed within the British Journal of Cancer in 2012 discovered that 50 grams day by day of processed meat, resembling ham, consumption was statistically linked with a 19% elevated threat of pancreatic most cancers.

The nitrites in uncured ham are slightly higher. Nitrites happen naturally in lots of meals like greens. In uncured ham, it’s cured with the celery combination that additionally accommodates sea salt and parsley and beet extracts.

Uncured ham doesn’t put you vulnerable to most cancers as a result of the vegetable combination can also be excessive in vitamin C, which prevents the conversion of nitrites to nitrosamines. As a end result, uncured ham is taken into account so much safer for you than cured ham.

Cured vs. Uncured Ham: Storage

How do you retailer your ham? In this part, we are going to study storing cured vs. uncured ham.

Cured Ham

Uncooked, a cured ham will final 5 to seven days within the fridge, or you possibly can comply with the “use-by” date supplied on the bundle. It may also final three to 4 months within the freezer.

Cooked, a cured ham will final three to 5 days within the fridge or one to 2 months within the freezer. Vacuumed sealed and unopened cooked ham may also final two weeks within the fridge or one to 2 months within the freezer.

What about dry-cured nation hams? A cooked nation ham will retailer every week within the fridge, whereas an raw nation ham shops two to a few months within the fridge. Both cooked and raw nation hams retailer for a month within the freezer.

Uncured Ham

Fresh, raw uncured ham shops within the fridge for 3 to 5 days, or you too can freeze it for six months. Fresh, cooked uncured ham will final three to 4 days within the fridge or three to 4 months within the freezer.

Cured vs. Uncured Ham: How to Cook

Now, it’s time to cook dinner your ham. In this part, we are going to have a look at the right way to cook dinner a cured ham vs. an uncured ham.

Cured Ham

A cured and smoked ham will take much less time to roast or bake within the oven than an uncured ham. You will bake lined within the oven at 275 to 300 levels Fahrenheit till the thermometer reads 155 to 160 levels Fahrenheit.

You also can boil the cured ham till the thermometer reads 160 levels Fahrenheit, which shall be about 20 to 25 minutes per pound.

Uncured Ham

Is uncured ham able to eat? Not until you cook dinner it first. You might want to put forth slightly extra effort in terms of cooking a contemporary, uncooked uncured ham. This course of shall be just like making ready a turkey.

When you end cooking, the inner temperature shall be between 145 to 160 levels Fahrenheit. The ham shall be drier when cooked above 145 levels Fahrenheit.

The following is an uncured ham recipe:

Things Needed:

  • Smoked, uncured ham
  • Straight edge knife
  • Meat thermometer
  • Roasting pan with rack
  • Basting brush
  • Aluminum foil
  • 1/three to half cup of honey or maple syrup
  • 1 gallon filtered water


  • Remove uncured ham from the fridge as much as two hours earlier than cooking. The ham will attain room temperature, and subsequently cook dinner evenly throughout cooking.
  • Trim exterior fats all the way down to 1 / 4 inch with a straight edge knife. Score the remaining fats and run the knife by the remaining fats layer.
  • Insert a meat thermometer in the midst of the ham. Transfer the ham to a shallow baking pan with a wire rack. There is not any have to taste the ham since smoked uncured ham has its personal distinctive taste.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 to 350 levels Fahrenheit, and place the ham within the oven.
  • Roast the ham till thermometer reads 150 to 155 levels Fahrenheit. In common, it’s going to take 18 to 20 minutes per pound for a complete, bone-in ham or 30 minutes per pound for a complete, boneless ham.
  • In the final hour of cooking, for an elective glaze, you should utilize honey or maple syrup.
  • Remove the ham from the oven and switch to a serving platter, and let the ham sit for 10 to 15 minutes earlier than slicing and serving. The inner temperature will proceed to rise right now, and can attain the required temperature of 160 levels Fahrenheit. Cover the ham with aluminum foil so it stays heat.

Cured vs. Uncured Ham Final Thoughts

Throughout this text, we realized the variations between cured ham and uncured ham, together with the right way to cook dinner and retailer them.

That being stated, in terms of cured vs. uncured ham, which one do you have to get? Cured ham and uncured ham each comprise nitrites; nevertheless, the vegetable-based nitrites in uncured ham are thought-about pure and current no recognized hurt to your health.

On the opposite hand, the nitrites in cured ham are thought to transform to carcinogens known as nitrosamines.

As a end result, if ham is in your purchasing checklist, I’d counsel you set uncured ham in your cart somewhat than cured ham.

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