Christmas Ham – All You Need to Know

Ok, it’s officially Christmas season now! And of course a big part of Christmas festivities is enjoying beautiful free range, pasture fed ham.

However, Christmas is often the only time we buy and eat whole and half legs of ham, so if you’re anything like me you may forget year to year what to do with it (glazing, cooking times, etc), how to carve it and how to store it. So, I thought I’d create a post that has everything you need to know all in the one place!

Tips for storing your ham

  1. Hunt through your kitchen draws and find your Ham Bag (or a clean tea towel) and soak it in a solution of water and one tablespoon of vinegar; squeeze out the excess.
  2. Remove the ham from the plastic wrapping and wipe it clean with a damp cloth.
  3. Place your ham in the Ham Bag and refrigerate.
  4. Rinse out your Ham Bag and repeat the vinegar process every 3 days to retain freshness.
  5. Consider slicing enough ham to last 2 – 3 days and storing it covered, on a plate in the fridge. This way the rest of the ham can stay safely wrapped up in the Ham Bag and will retain it’s moistness (otherwise each time you pull it out to carve a few slices it will lose a little of it’s moisture).
  6. Always keep your Ham Bag moist.

Carving your ham

  • Step 1 – Place ham skin side up. Then run a small sharp knife under the rind around the bottom (opposite end to hock) and each side of the ham to about halfway up. Peel the rind back.
  • Step 2 – Run the tip of the knife around the bone, on the underside of the ham. Begin to slice on a slight angle down to the bone.
  • Step 3 – Run your knife lengthways along the bone to remove slices. Continue to slice towards the hock.
  • Step 4 – Continue slicing down to the bone, working your way around the ham. When you’ve reached about a third of the way up, you can remove the bone by making a few short cuts at the joint.
  • Step 5 – To keep your ham fresh, fold rind back over exposed surface, place in a moistened Ham Bag, or wrap in a tea towel (see above) and store in the fridge.


Preparing your ham

One of the great things about ham is that you don’t actually have to do anything to it. It’s already cooked, so if you prefer, you can simply slice it up and enjoy.

However, if you fancy glazing your ham and warming it in the oven, I’ve included two of my favourite recipes below:



  • 1 cooked leg of ham
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons dried cloves


  • Preheat oven to 180°C (or 160°C fan forced).
  • Remove skin from ham and score fat in a diamond shape.
  • Press a clove into the centre of each diamond shape.
  • Place ham in a large baking paper-lined baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Combine sugar, mustard powder, vinegar and maple syrup. Brush some of the glaze over the ham.
  • Bake ham for a further 30 minutes or until heated through and golden brown, basting frequently with the glaze. Ingredients



  • 1 cooked leg of ham
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon or grain mustard
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons dried cloves


  • Preheat oven to 180°C (or 160°C fan forced).
  • Combine grated orange zest, orange juice, mustard, sugar and cinnamon.
  • Remove skin from ham and score fat in a diamond shape.
  • Press a clove into the centre of each diamond shape.
  • Spread glaze over ham.
  • Bake for up to 2 hours, basting the ham every 20 minutes.


Anything else you think I should add to this post? Leave a comment below and I’ll get straight on it! 

carving ham, cooking ham, cutting ham, glazing ham, slicing ham, storing ham

Alison Clinch

Alison Clinch has 20 years marketing experience gained in small and medium size business. She is especially passionate about supporting local communities, communications, and brand management. In her role with The Free Range Butcher Alison is responsible for the company’s branding, promotion, advertising and website. Her experience in the kitchen and passion for good food also brings refreshing new ideas for our recipe suggestions. Initially working alongside her husband Ben at the farmers markets, Alison is more ‘behind the scenes’ now, and keeping busy with two young apprentices’ / kids, Tom and Georgia.

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