THE EASTER HAM, the Christmas ham. SWEET at 67c an lb!

easter and xmas, thanksgiving hams are on
Hey guys... Holidays, watch the market circulars carefully, be on your toes to pick up a bargain, Krogers stores have it for  67c a pound for Christmas or Easter ham
( Mine was only 7 bucks total for a ten pounder). Cut into 10 pieces, boil to lose salt, then freeze 9.

SUPERMARKET SALES are the way to go! A ham fancier will know that a HONEY BAKED ham while the best flavor, is gonna cost 110$. A Virginia Smoke House ham is about the same. OVER a hundred bucks. Yet this week, XMAS 2016, our local markets had their annual big ham fest giving away those chunky mommas for under a ten spot! And they do it at Easter, Thanksgiving and NEW YEARS. When I see protein at 67c an lb, I go for it!

If you plain to avail yourself and you want an 'heir and a spare', (get two, one for the holiday table, one to freeze.) Big super market chains know what you want seasonally and they do a loss leader of that item. A special race for the ham section will start when they're 67 to 88c an lb. Not the usual 2bucks an lb. NEXT WEEK, the 'nearly date-expired' hams will be even lower, half price. 44c an lb. right AFTER the holiday. Imagine. PROTEIN at 44c!! ? So BUY ONE or TWO. If you're a senior, ditch the salt and nitrates. HOW? Slice the ham into about 20 pcs, and boil the meat so that salt and any 'ham' chemicals depart, --cool, freeze in bags. Take the bone and make SPLIT PEA SOUP (recipe below). You'll have ham pieces for 8 mos until those Xmas hams are 88c first week, then 44c for a few days after. CHECK the expiration date on 88c hams and you'll see the day those hams will be on sale. Half price. (They do that a day before it expires usually, ask the butcher.) Read this great piece on "HOW TO PICK A HAM"

Country hams are very salty and super expensive. The typical Virginia-produced back end  of a pig will go for l00$ (Walmart has them for 11$ a pound before shipping costs. They can be bought online. Without shipping, in the store, they still cost  more than ten times the price of a Farmer John ham! Weighing 15 lbs, it costs almost 30$ to ship.

But we are frugal-ites and know there are many ways to skin a cat so don't worry, hit the supermarket at Easter when the whole ham is only 9$ being  88c an lb, a typical Easter or Xms price.  The supermarket hams yield a month of eating. For instance, I live alone, so every few days I slice off a pound, cut into small chunks, boil to lose the salt, simmer, Plastic bag it in fridge. In sight. I take one thin slice a day for lunch in a sandwich. with mustard and mayo. In a taco, on my salad, in scrambled eggs with onions, catsup or in a split pea soup, (that's a separate pound, simmered with soaked, rinsed dried peas, carrots, onions, celery, thyme, bayleaf, black pepper. In a month my ham will be gone. February the second ham gets thawed, cut up and boiled. That doesn't really get us to Easter. I'm recommending a THIRD ham if your freezer is big enough.

"A HAM FREE NATION WOULD BE ANTI-CHRISTIAN" Benny Netanyahu who spent too much time in the USA

I like to wash ham chemicals and salt out of the thing soon as I get it. Cut into two dozen pieces, remove fat and skin, simmer these bad boy chunks for twenty minutes, freeze the desalted slices. Best salt remover is to slice it down into 40 slices. But I only do two dozen. There's never space in a freezer for a whole ham, so baggies work for me. Plus i don't like uncooked nitrate ham. Don't like slicing thru a frozen ham hump and boiling salt out daily... so I mostly do it over 3 days. I take a third of ham off --fridge rest, my pot holds about a third of a ham. In inch wide chunks -- I give part of the ham skin/ fat to possums and part to Nola the pitbull and her husband the beagle Mason. For myself, I make that fatty ham lean with the boil. And daily have two oz ham bits in my huge green salad for lunch.

Now the Virginia hams that gourmet chefs refer to --often called the Smithfield country ham --is precious. It will cost more than ten times as much. Order online as most markets don't deal with valuable l00 buck hams.

You de-salt those big guys in a bath tub, soak for a few days. You know it's totally preserved, right? You could soak it for a year probably.  Then bake per instructions. Supermarket hams do not need more than a mere heating through --peeled, with brown sugar, pineapple juice. mustard and cloves on its soft exterior.

William Styron, America's greatest novelist, Nat Turner's rebellion, Sophie's Choice once described his method: for soaking a country ham in an interview or documentary which I now see was not preserved as well as the ham was... for posterity, online but I found a description of the method at  URL below, online. His way is to soak the thing in a bathtub over a few days, scrubbing every so often.

(I'll bet his wife is glad Easter only comes once a year. Can you imagine cleaning THAT bath tub?) Again, that is the Virginia country ham which is highly salted. Hard. The Farmer John ham is soft, ready to eat, you need only bake for an hour in the oven with maple/ honey/ pineapple juice/ brown sugar and home made mustard (recipe below) over the skinned ham, to create a glaze. At night's end, guests gone, slice and bag all leftover meet and freeze. (I remove white fat and give to a candy coated pit bull next door, Nola her name as she's sweeter than honey.

Don't discard the big bone. THE BONE IS THE National TREASURE for soups.

CLASSIC PEA SOUP RECIPE. Simmer entire ham bone in water with a a few potatoes, a few cups of  water, a few cups of pre-soaked, dried green split peas, carrots. Season with  thyme, celery seeds, powdered or whole, bay leaf, salt, pepper, barley is optional. After a slow hour, pull the bone out, give it to a dog.. I get a few quarts of soup. I keep baggies of the soup in fridge or freezer.

EASY BREEZY WAY: To get a great can of split pea soup, try ANDERSEN's in cans; they really know their ham and pea business. SUPER COSTLY so take a hammer to the market, dent the cans and they go for half price. KIDDING. I paid 49c a can when I just got 8 cans of Campbells soup, opened one up, thick like sludge. must be a concentrate. I haven't got glasses in the kitchen to read label but a cretin could see it needed broth and milk to get to SOUP consistency. When i had it wet down with both,  I noted that it had no thyme or bay leaf or pepper flavor or celery seed, which ANDERSEN'S SPLIT PEA SOUP WILL HAVE.

But I fixed CAMPBELLS SOUP by adding chicken broth, ham pieces, thyme, bayleaf milk and water and black pepper and then it's fabulous. So if you buy it, the concentrate  is as dried in can as firm as a can of refried beans ergo you must scoop that wad out, add a cup of any broth, stir vigorously so that you're getting the thick peasoup from can to enter into your water or broth. Add thyme, bayleaf, your shredded ham pieces and simmer twenty minutes on a low flame. But what's the point of paying a buck for a bent discounted can --two bucks for a whole can? From Scratch and you get ten quarts of soup! With those tuff baggies, you can eat for a month.  When you eat this soup, you do not need another entree. Just some accoutrements. Serve it with organic whole wheat buttered toast, and a little bit of mustard.


* 1/3 cup (55g) mustard seeds
* 1/3 cup (80ml) white wine vinegar
* 1/3 cup (80ml) dry white wine (or water)
* 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
* 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* big pinch of cayenne
* 2-4 tablespoons warm water, if necessary
* optional: 1-3 teaspoons prepared horseradish, to taste

1. Combine all the ingredients, except the horseradish, in a
stainless-steel bowl. Cover, and let stand for 2-3 days.

2. Put the ingredients in a blender and whiz until as smooth as
possible. Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of water if the mustard is too thick.
Blend in the horseradish, if using.

Storage: The mustard will keep for up to 6 months refrigerated, although
itís best if used within one month.

A quarter pound of frozen ham is 17c, if bought at an holiday sale. The mustard is near free if you grow mustard, and I do. (Harvest seeds almost fully ripe and brown, if the pods start to rupture, if even one does, harvest that entire plant, Keep in paper bags, seeds down until grinding day. You grow potatoes, so one per person. I can't grow carrots so those I'd buy. Boiled cabbage would be nice.

Dessert, something typically southern like pecan pie. Now, Pecans and WHIPPED CREAM are expensive! But nobody will ever forget you, the cook, and that's worth it. If you don't need to be loved, apples on sale on PRODUCE BENT RACK, 4 lbs for 99c. APPLE pie, tons of cinnamon and nutmeg.