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What is the rainbow sheen on ham?

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Baked Ham

© 2006 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Question: What is the rainbow sheen on ham?
The rainbow sheen on ham does not necessarily mean spoilage. Find out why.
Answer:

What is the rainbow sheen on ham?

You may have noticed a glistening, sometimes greenish, rainbow iridescent effect on cut ham. This is not necessarily an indication of spoilage. Hams using nitrates and/or nitrites as curing agents undergo pigment changes when exposed to light and air due to a chemical reaction. These same nitrates are the cause of the meat color remaining rosy red, even when fully cooked.

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Ham Photo © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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