Sunday, 9 March 2008

Making Gammon (part 1)

After yesterday's bacon, it was time to do the gammon today (once I'd dealt with the 7.5kg of tomatoes I picked at lunchtime). I'd made the brine yesterday - a cider brine with apple juice, water, cider, juniper berries, peppercorns, cloves, water , salt and brown sugar. It had been in the bottom of the fridge getting nice and chilled, along with the gammon and a hock I'd decided to cure as well.
Doesn't that gammon look lovely??? Mmmmmmmmmmmmm

Another very simple process - put the brine in a non-reactive container (non-metal) - I've used a 9litre food grade plastic container with a lid. Make sure it's not too full to start with, as the ham will take up a bit of volume (I had a brine flood last time I did this!). As you can see from the pick below the gammon / hock float in the brine, and they need to be submerged. To achieve this I use a ziplock bag filled with rice. You can use a chopping board - mine doesn't fit the container.

Once the weight is in place, put the lid on, and return to the fridge. Easy!

Because I'm planning to cook it pretty soon after curing I'm going for the minimum cure time of 3 days per kg (so 6 days in total). If I was going to keep it longer before cooking then it could go for up to 4 days per kg. Stay tuned for part 2 next week

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