Though you're not hosting a big Easter dinner, there are practical and delicious reasons to buy your usual Easter ham.

By Janet Taylor McCracken
April 06, 2020
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Credit: Jonathan Lovekin

Let's face it: Easter is going to be a little different this year. Friends and relatives won't be able join us around the table to celebrate together as usual, and those who usually attend religious services will have to mark the holiday at home. But there's one thing you can do to bring at least a little bit of traditional comfort to the day: bake a ham. It sounds a little crazy, but we're here to convince you that you should still cook your usual holiday entrée. Why? Because it's easy to make, it freezes beautifully, and it's one of the most versatile foods to repurpose—you'll use those leftovers in everything from sandwiches to soup. Whether you buy the same size ham you've purchased in the past or scale down to a half or quarter size, you'll find there are many ways to use and enjoy the meat that your family can't finish on Easter Sunday.

It's So Easy to Prepare

A city ham, the type of ham found in the supermarket meat section, is already cooked; that means "baking" a ham is really as simple as just heating it up. If you're willing to put in a bit more effort, you can upgrade yours by studding the exterior with a few cloves before you place it in the oven, or you can brush it with a little glaze near the end of cooking.

You Can Freeze It

We're going to let you in on a great secret: Baked ham freezes beautifully. Once you've cooked the ham and let it cool down, slice it up and portion it out. Refrigerate some and pop the rest in freezer bags and freeze for up to four months.

You'll Be in Leftover Heaven

In these days of social distancing and eating at home, batch cooking is everything. And one ham equals one giant batch of meat. Try to think outside the sandwiches box (but by all means make a few—with mustard, sliced cheese, and pickles). Make a western omelet with leftover diced ham, red peppers, and onion. If you want to get fancy with your eggs, how whipping up a ham and cheese quiche? If you are making a batch of mac and cheese, mix in some ham before it goes into the oven. And for lunch, how about a hearty salad with ham, marinated artichokes, and pretty much any vegetables you've got left over from the last few days?

Whatever you do, don't forget about that magical bone. It will turn any ordinary split pea soup or white bean stew into something special.

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