We're a bit nervous about sending this dispatch this week... if your inbox is anything like ours, you're being bombarded with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday sales spam that is giving you the big ick. We want to make sure you have this info before you need it... and we want you to head out to sort your christmas ham feeling confident and well-versed in finding what you need – so we're sending the email and hoping that you can tuck it away in your inbox until you're ready.
If this week is not the week for you to sort your ham... that's cool... we get it. There are 24 sleeps to go until the big day... so you've probably got about 10 more days until procrastinating starts to get a bit iffy.
We've set out our ham forecast for you below – this is based on when stock is going into stores... but also quite a few years of experience getting panicked phone calls from people who find that the ham they're after is sold out in their grocery store when the do get around to heading in! Sooner rather than later is the best advice we can give.
To make things a bit easier, we've put together a handy tool to help you find our hams in the wild. You tell us where you are in the country, and we email you a handy list of all the stores that have orders in for Freedom Farmed hams in your area. There's no guarantee they'll still have stock left... but at least you'll know where to start! Easy peasy.
What's on our festive table?
We're not ashamed to say that thinking about what goes on the table at Christmas starts months in advance for us. Which is not to say we're overly uptight about the festive feast itself... but we're definitely into the idea that December 25 is the day for really special ingredients... and collecting the best flavours, the best locally made ingredients and the best eating ideas is a year-long journey for us. In fact, it's probably a lifelong commitment.
For us, this year's festive feast is an eclectic mix of cozy flavours and ingredients that we think go well alongside our very special ham.
- Our Miso, Apple and Ginger Glaze really ramps up the umami of the ham, and lends itself to many days of delightful leftovers after the main event.
- Daily Bread's Smoked Rye Sourdough and Viavio Ricotta Salata have both won our hearts this year, and they make great additions to a beetroot panzanella that will have you going back for third helpings.
- The juggle for oven space on Christmas morning can be tough... so keep the roast potatoes a stove-top affair (or even better, chuck them on the BBQ) with our bacon-laden Christmas Potatoes. We've spiked the dressing with King Street Apricot and Jalapeño Hot Sauce – made by a couple of Grey Lynn lads using locally grown ingredients.
- A wedge salad is about as simple as it gets on Christmas Day, but simple ≠ boring. We've jazzed ours up with a crunchy panko crumble topping, and added Topshelf Double Garlic Aioli to the dressing to hit the best flavour notes.
- And finally, and apple and walnut salad is among the best comfort food out there. Skip the too-often-rancid walnuts-from-undisclosed-locations in favour of Uncle Joe's Walnuts, grown alongside the Wairau River in Marlborough. Delicious!
Miso, Apple & Ginger Glaze
Makes enough for a 4-5kg ham
- 3 Tbsp Shiro (white) miso paste
- A big thumb of fresh ginger, finely grated
- 1/2 cup Chantal Organics Apple Syrup
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup apple juice (or water)
- Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat. Gently simmer until the brown sugar is dissolved, around 4-5 minutes.
- Brush about a third of the glaze over your prepared ham before it goes in the oven, and the repeat your glaze application at 20 min intervals until you have built up a good glossy coverage.
Round out your glazed ham with these delightful sides:
Ham for days
The days of ham hangovers and dreading all the leftovers from the big day are over - we look forward to our leftovers with the same anticipation! While we do recommend eating the leftovers as fast as you can, we've developed a five-stage ham eating guide to keep everyone happy, healthy and full of tasty noms.
The main event, and the Christmas Ham's first outing. Typically glazed on the day and served hot/warm, or glazed the day before and served cold. It's ham's day zero, no one is fatigued, everyone eats just a smidge too much. Happy memories are made.
The first outing for leftovers, and we start off strong with brunch. The options here are as plentiful as your ham supply - eggs bene, bubble and squeak, sliced thin and fried as you would bacon (and loaded up with hash browns and eggs), or whip up a hearty croque madame to pep you up if you're feeling a bit dusty.
The ultimate sandwich ingredient, there's nothing like a leftover Christmas ham sammie. You're only limited by your imagination here. Pack a picnic and head to the beach to enjoy yours with a side of surf and sand.
At this point the ham supply is dwindling, and we want to use it as an ingredient in something we're cooking and eating (piping!) hot. Quiche is a go-to for us, as it's a great use for any other lingering leftovers too. But don't rule out whipping up a batch of ham and cheese scones, savoury muffins, or even a veggie-laden baked strata.
If you still have any ham left (impressive, if you ask us), your best bet now is to cube it up and pop in the freezer. You can pull out some when needed to add to meals you're cooking - it's perfect for pizza, pasta and soup in the coming months.
How much ham do I need?
Depends on a few things... the two most important being your expectations around leftovers and how many other proteins are on your Christmas table?
As a rough guide, we suggest 180g of boneless ham per person, or 200g of bone-in ham per person. Easy!
What style of ham should I buy?
Consider: do you prefer a traditional bone-in ham, or a slightly-more-tender champagne ham that is totally or partially deboned... and how much space do you have in your fridge?
You can find more about our ham offering on our website.
How long will my ham last?
The hams in the grocery stores now will happily last in your fridge until after Dec 25 – provided you keep it snuggly sealed in the original packaging.
You can help make sure its in the best possibly condish for Christmas by keeping it tucked away in a low-down shelf (or veggie draw) in your fridge where the temp is nice and stable. We also ask that you don't lug it around using the plastic gusset (or any handle-ish plastic overhang) – as doing this can stress the carefully-applied seal.
How long is my ham good for after I've served it?
Too tricky to answer this with any hard and fast rule: it depends on how long you leave it out on the bench for, how you store it in the fridge, how many times your fridge is being opened each day, and a myriad of other hard-to-measure factors.
Consider how long you'd eat other leftovers and go with that. Our typical advice is to buy the right size ham for your needs, and eat leftovers as fast as you can. Be sure to store remaining ham in a damp ham bag or covered with a damp tea towel and keep moist.
Also, if you're a big fan of the post-Christmas ham fest, buy a smaller ham that meets your needs for Christmas Day, and a second ham that you can keep sealed until you've exhausted the original supply. Ta-da... ham for days.
Can I freeze ham?
Yeah... nah? Although freezing ham is stage 5 in our (un)official five-stage ham eating guide, it's not ideal for the whole thing and won't bring out the best in your ham. The freezing and defrosting process does some funky stuff to the cured pork, and it can change the texture. If you must, then we respectfully request you defrost it low and slow, in the fridge for at least 48 hours, and add 15 minutes to the cooking time post-glaze.
Can I eat my ham straight from the pack?
I hope so, because we've been known to do just that...
Yep, your ham is ready to eat just as soon as you can open the wrapper. We talk a lot about cooking them, but that's because we're a huge sucker for a ham glaze as it pumps up the flavour 1000%.
Where do your hams really come from?
Well, when a mummy pig and a daddy pig really love each other... kidding. Our hams come from pigs, Freedom Farmed (without crates or cages) on independently audited New Zealand farms - in South Canterbury, to be precise. You can learn more about why we're so proud of that here.
Can you order your ham from us directly?
No, sorry. We don't do online sales, but you can use our ham finder to find a store close to you.
That's all from us for now... enjoy your week!
Hilary and the team at Freedom Farms