With so many types of ham available, it can be hard to discern which variety to buy or avoid. When choosing ham at the grocery store, watching out for certain labels is crucial.
During processing, ham is often infused with a salty brine that keeps it juicy and aids the curing process. However, when used in excess, the brine makes the flesh mushy over time.
Be wary of "ham and water" products, as brine makes up over 15% of their weight. Hams labeled "water added" or "with juices" are still better, as they have less added liquid.
It’s best to opt for pure cuts of ham with no brine added. Plus, you shouldn’t avoid boneless ham, as bones maximize hams’ porky flavor without sacrificing their texture.
To avoid carving bone-in ham altogether, opt for bone-in spiral-cut varieties. However, note that pre-sliced ham loses moisture rapidly in the oven, which makes it finicky to cook.