How To Keep Your Easter Ham From Drying Out

Why do people eat ham for Easter? While lamb has far more symbolic value (both biblically and as an emblem of spring in general), ham is cheaper. This was the case back in the 1950s when ham started to overtake lamb as the holiday meal of choice and it remains true today. Despite being a relatively affordable option, however, ham is still a sizable investment. So you want to make sure to cook it right. One issue people often have with ham is that it can turn out too dry. While many cooks add liquid to the pan to prevent this, Mashed developer Hayley MacLean goes in a different direction with her Easter ham recipe.

Even though MacLean eschews using water or broth when she bakes a ham, she covers it with a piece of aluminum foil for the first 40 minutes. As she explains, "The foil cover keeps the ham from drying out and allows the heat to permeate ... the meat." While the ham still has another 45 minutes or so to cook after the foil is removed, at this point, MacLean begins basting it with a mixture of brown sugar, marmalade, mustard, and vinegar and this glaze helps to moisten the meat.

Take care not to dry out the leftovers, as well

Because hams tend to be fairly sizable, you're more than likely to have leftovers. You can certainly eat cold ham straight from the fridge or slap it between two slices of bread to make a sandwich. However, if you want to recreate your Easter meal as best you can, you'll probably reheat the meat. In this case, Hayley MacLean recommends using a microwave to heat individual portions but suggests that you again cover the ham slices to keep them from drying out. This time you should use plastic, though, since if you put foil in the microwave, sparks will fly (and not in a romantic way).

Another way to avoid your ham drying out is to repurpose it in a different dish. Your leftover ham can be kept for up to four days in the fridge, but before it expires, you might want to put it to good use in an omelet, a casserole, a quiche, or a pizza. Need some inspiration? Start with our recipe for a classic ham and split pea soup or branch out into something a little different like Midwestern baked ham balls or ham and cheese cloud eggs.