Ham HistoryDomestication of pigs for food dates back to 4900 B.C. in China and by 1500 B.C., Europe had followed suit. Although Christopher Columbus had eight pigs on board when he left Spain for the new world, it is explorer Hernando de Soto whose 13 pigs became the breeding stock for America's pork industry. By the 17th century, most American farmers raised pigs. The shelf-life of salt pork and bacon made both staple in most kitchens.
The word ham comes from the Old English hamm. George A. Hormel & Company pioneered canned hams in America in 1926. Country ham is first mentioned in print in 1944, referring to a method of curing and smoking done in the rural sections of Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vermont and other nearby states. The term now refers to a style, rather than location.
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Ham Selection and Storage
Ham Varieties and Terminology
Top 10 Leftover Ham Recipes
Ham Photo © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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