How to Cure Hams

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Prepare the following ingredients in the pickling; trough: viz.,—to six pounds of common salt add four ounces of saltpetre, two ounces of sal-prunella, three-quarters of a pound of moist sugar, twenty bay-leaves, thyme, marjoram, and winter-savoury in proportion; one ounce of bruised cloves and mace, and an ounce of Jamaica peppercorns, and four cloves of garlic. With clean cold hands rub this mixture thoroughly all over the hams for five successive mornings; and then add some wine lees: the hams should remain in this pickle for ten days longer, being turned over every morning in order that they may become well impregnated with the flavour.

At the end of a fortnight, the hams being sufficiently pickled and salted, they must be put in press between boards, with heavy weights to press them flat; and at the end of twenty-four hours they must be rubbed over with pea-meal in which has been mixed a little salt; they are then to be smoked, for which purpose they should be arranged upon racks in a square shed so built that none of the smoke can issue except through the hole left purposely at the top for a chimney: the hams must be placed at about five feet from the fire, which is to be managed as follows: viz.,—first, place small heaps of dry red sawdust mixed with a small proportion of juniper berries, or branches, at about a foot distance from each other; and as soon as the heaps of sawdust are well lighted, lay some branches of wood containing sap across them; this not only increases the amount of smoke, but it also gives flavour to the hams: the smoking, must last about five days. The hams, when removed from the smoking-kiln, aro to be placed in a cool, dry atmosphere, and will be fittest for dressing in about six months, after curing.

Let it be understood that the quantity of ingredients named in the first part of those directions would serve for a couple of hams only; but, when curing large quantities of hams, it is most proper to calculate the different proportions of the ingredients, by allowing four ounces of salt to the pound of meat.

No. 734