Save Canned Fruit Cocktail Syrup For A Tasty Ham Glaze

When it comes to glazing a ham, there are plenty of options to choose from like honey, maple syrup, mustard, Coca Cola, beer, even canned fruit cocktail. Though the latter might seem like an odd choice, the fruity syrup left in the can carries sweet and sour flavors that pair deliciously with pork.

Fruit cocktail typically contains pears, peaches, cherries, grapes, and pineapple, so the flavors of all of these are left behind in the syrup. And seriously, can you name a more classic pairing than pineapple and ham? The additional fruit flavors only take the glaze to a whole new level.

Of course, using fruit cocktail syrup means you also have a sort of glue for other spices or herbs you might want to glaze a ham with. Fruit cocktail syrup, cloves, and brown sugar? Yes, please! Just mix your ingredients together, and the resulting glaze will be sweet with caramel undertones and just enough heat to tie everything together for a perfectly balanced ham. Alternatively, you can mix fruit cocktail syrup with mustard and pepper or chile flakes for more spice.

Glaze other meats with leftover canned fruit cocktail syrup

Sure, ham might be one of the most obvious choices when it comes to pairing meat with a fruity syrupy glaze, but it's not the only choice. You can also pair meats like other kinds of pork, chicken, and even duck with fruit cocktail syrup.

Chicken, for instance, is an excellent canvas for fruits like orange, mango, and apricot, so adding a syrup with any (or all) of these flavors can elevate a regular BBQ glaze. For bonus points, you can grill fruit alongside the poultry to serve as a garnish or side dish. Likewise, duck is commonly cooked with cherries, another ingredient in most canned fruit cocktails. The sugar and tang from the syrup can help cut through duck's fatty flavors, too.

Last but not least, ham's fellow pig product, pork, is another great contender for pairing with a fruity glaze. Though pork is well-known for its association with applesauce, pineapple is equally complementary. You can also try a fruit cocktail syrup mixed with cranberry juice to bring a touch of tartness.

Get the most out of your canned fruit cocktail glaze with cross-hatching

Don't get us wrong, we love a nice, thick glaze on the outer crust of meat. However, for the most flavor possible, a glaze can't just sit on top of the meat; it needs to soak in. The best way to allow it to penetrate is to cross-hatch the meat like you would when dicing soft fruits. At most, cut only a quarter-inch deep, and then apply the glaze. The score marks increase the surface area, therefore boosting the amount of flavor the glaze can impart inside.

Of course, cross-hatching doesn't just benefit your glaze. When this method is used with fattier meats like duck, or tougher meats like pork, it helps break down fat and muscle for a more tender cut. For meats like fish and chicken, cross-hatching aids in an even cook both inside and out, making it a recipe for delicious success.