This recipe represents the triumph of the Internet, and its revolutionizing of regional cooking. Prior to the Internet, if one wanted a Vermont ham, one had better be on one of the better lists for catalogs in the Green Mountain State. Over the years, I have looked at this recipe and wondered idly how I would get a Vermont ham. This summer, I even went to Vermont for the first time in some 15 years but completely neglected the ham purchase.
Now, a few key strokes into Google, and bingo, a Vermont ham is speeding to your doorstep. I got ours from a place called Vermont Smoke and Cure in South Barre, Vt. reachable at http://www.vtsmokeandcure.com/. Since we are not a large family, although my brother is staying with us, I eschewed a 12 pound ham and went for the 2 and a half pound model. The shipping cost more than the ham.
While the ham was tasty, low in fat, with healthy looking pink flesh, it was not noticeably Vermont-y. It did not taste of maple syrup, nor was it alleged to have been smoked over maple wood. But, by God, the recipe said Vermont ham, so I got one.
As to the other two ingredients, they were more problematic. Who knew that apple jelly would be a scarce, unobtainable commodity? My husband looked at Harris Teater and Whole Foods. I looked at Rodman's, which is a peculiar specialty food cum pharmacy, cum electronics store in our neighborhood. While they did have preserved ginger in syrup, which I need to make Hancock Village Steamed Ginger Sponge, and dozens of other jams and jellies from around the globe, they did not have apple jelly. Neither did Ikea, where we went on Monday to buy furniture for my brother's apartment. Neither did the Vermont Country Store. After the fact, I discovered that apple jelly is available at Walmart and a place in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. However, Walmarts are not available in the District of Columbia.
So, as usual, I improvised. We had a jar of some unidentified reddish jelly lurking in our refrigerator. I am pretty sure it was made by the wife of the actual farmer on my Berkshire farm. I'm not sure what kind of jelly it is. Might be crab apple. Might be something else. Current? Who knows. So, in it went.
Then, there was apple syrup. The Internet came through again with a recipe for making apple syrup. You take a half a gallon of apple cider and boil it down until it gets syrupy. This takes some time and requires one to pay attention lest it caramelize, and you get something the consistency of gum arabic at the bottom of your pot. If this happens, add about half a cup of water and the mess will dissolve overnight.
The resulting ham was very good. My husband, my brother and I and the yms polished it off in one sitting. So high yourself to Walmart and get some apple jelly.
Glazed Vermont Ham
1 twelve pound Vermont ham
1/2 cup Vermont apple jelly
1/2 cup apple syrup
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Place a whole Vermont ham, uncovered on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake them ham twenty-five minutes to the pound or, if a meat thermometer is used until it registers 160 degrees. Just before the ham is to be done, remove it from the oven and trim off most of the rind, leaving a collar of rind around the shank. Score the fat side of the ham in diamond shapes. Combine the apple jelly and syrup and spread on ham.
3. Increase the oven heat to 450 degrees. Return ham to oven and bake until glazed, five to fifteen minutes. Makes 16 to 18 servings.