Hams like to sweat, so it’s important to not wrap hams firmly in plastic or foil to allow a level of circulation. For ham slices, take an airtight container and place a paper towel or sheet of wax paper on the bottom. Place the ham into the lined container and top with another paper towel or sheet of wax paper. Swap the papers when damp and the ham will last three to five days.
For whole, bone-in hams, place the entire dish in a ham bag or cover with a thin dish rag. Both should be soaked in water with two tablespoons of white vinegar to preserve freshness, though it’s obviously ideal to cut the ham into smaller pieces and store using the methods above.
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The first thing you need to do is cut your ham into smaller pieces. Breaking down a ham will allow the meat to freeze easier and prevent the production of freezer burn. Place the pieces into a freezer bag and rid the bag of any excess air. Some experts recommend sucking the air out with a straw before sealing. This will ensure that it’s as close to vacuum-packed as possible. Since the ham is cooked, you should consume it within two months of freezing.
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Frozen ham, especially one that’s been cut into smaller pieces, can be easily thawed in the microwave. To speed up the process, the bag of meat can also be placed in a bowl of room-temperature water.
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Cajeta is the Mexican cousin of dulce de leche; however, it is made using goat’s milk, prepared in a copper pan, and develops its flavor through a Maillard reaction – the same chemical reaction that gives bread its crust and coffee its roast – rather than through caramelization. In Central and South America, panela is unrefined cane sugar that comes pressed in small blocks, but I would suggest a light muscovado sugar as a substitute. The baking soda is there to prevent the milk solids from coagulating before they’ve had a chance to develop the deepest possible flavor.
This is perfect for dipping churros as well as a topping for ice cream or just to eat by the spoonful. I make a big batch because it’s quite time–intensive, but it will sit in the fridge for 6 months. Trust me, you’ll never look back.