Curing Ham

From How To Do, A Consulting Library For Every Want- by L.W. Yaggy (first edition – circa 1901)

Method One

For each ham of 12 pounds weight: two pounds of common salt, two ounces of saltpetre, 1/4 pound of bay salt, 1/4 pound of coarse sugar.

This should be reduced to the finest powder. Rub the hams well with it; a woman’s hand often are not heavy enough to do this thoroughly. Then place them in a deep pan, add a wineglass full of good vinegar. Turn the hams every day; for the first three or four days rub them well with the brine. After that it will suffice to ladle it over the meat with a wooden or iron spoon. They should remain three weeks in the pickle. When taken it wipe them well, put them in bags of brown paper and then smoke them with wood ‘smoke for three weeks. Most grocers, dealers in hams and others,; who are particular in their meat, usually take the precaution to case each one, after it is smoked, in canvas, for the purpose of defending it from the attacks of the little insect, the dermestes lardarius, which, by laying its eggs in it, soon fills it with its larvse or maggots. This troublesome and expensive process may be altogether superseded by the use of pyroligneous acid. With a painter‘s brush, dipped in the liquid, one man, in the course of a day, may effectually secure two hundred hams from all danger. Care should be taken to spread the liquid to all the cracks, etc., of the under surface. This is especially adapted to the preservation of hams in hot climates.

Method Two

Take 24 pounds sugar, 7 pounds coarse salt, 2 oz. saltpetre and 4 gallons water, boil together and put on cool to 100 pounds of meat. Let the meat lie in the pickle eight weeks.

Method Three

To a cask of hams, say from 25 to 30, after having packed them closely and sprinkled them slightly with salt, I let them lie thus for 3 days; then make a brine sufficient to cover them, by putting salt into clear water, making it strong enough to bear up a sound egg or potato. Then add 1/2 pound of saltpetre, and a gallon of molasses; let them lie in the brine for 6 weeks —they are then exactly right. Then take, them up and let them drain; then while damp rub the flesh side and the end of the leg with finely pulverized, black, red, or cayenne pepper; let it be as fine as dust, and dust every part of the flesh side, then hang them up and smoke. You may leave them hanging in the smoke house or other cool place where the rats cannot reach them, as they are perfectly safe from all insects.

Truthfulness is at the foundation of all excellence

L W Yaggy

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