Serve Ham For The Spring Holidays

Posted: March 25, 2013

Ham often finds its way to many families’ tables during the spring holidays...

According to the USDA, it is a nutritious meat that comes from one of the leanest pork cuts -- the leg. A 3.4-ounce serving of roasted extra-lean ham has about 145 calories, 5.5 grams fat, 21 grams of protein and 53 milligrams cholesterol. Ham has a significant amount of thiamin (vitamin B-1) and vitamin B-12.
     Although fresh pork is naturally low in sodium, ham has added sodium compounds from the curing process. A serving of ham can contain close to one-half the recommended daily intake of sodium. For those who prefer ham with less sodium, there are many lowered-sodium ham products on the market. Look for sodium and nutrition information on hams' labels.

     When buying a ham, the USDA suggests estimating the size needed according to the number of servings the type of ham should yield:

  • 1/4 - 1/3 lb. per serving of boneless ham
  • 1/3 - 1/2 lb. of meat per serving of ham with little bone
     There are two types of hams: fully cooked and those that need cooking. Fully cooked hams may be eaten cold or reheated to 140 °F. When storing these hams, observe "use-by" dates on hams sealed at the plant; use store-wrapped cooked ham portions within 3 to 5 days. "Cook-before-eating" hams must be cooked to 145 °F and allowed to rest for at least 3 minutes to destroy harmful bacteria that may be present.

    Leftover ham should be tightly wrapped and refrigerated or frozen within 2 hours. Use refrigerated leftovers within 5 days, and frozen ham within 2 months.
    If you’re wondering what to do with your ham leftovers, try the hearty pasta salad recipe below.

  • 4 cups cooked pasta, drained
  • 2 cups cooked ham strips
  • 2 cups broccoli pieces, blanched
  • 1 cup cooked carrots, sliced
  • ½ cup red pepper strips
  • ¼ cup green onion, sliced
  • ¾ cup Italian salad dressing, light or reduced fat

     Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
Karen Thomas is a family and consumer sciences educator for Penn State Extension in Lackawanna County.