Doctorate Housewife

What my degree in IPE didn't teach me about baking, DIY, fitness, and life…

Maple Orange Glaze (plus a cancer prevention tip)

I made my first ham this Easter. When I went to Stonemannor, the English Store, I bought a gammon joint. I’m not entirely sure what a gammon joint is, or how it translates into what most American recipes call “a spiral cut ham”, but I knew it was a ham and ham is for Easter. And for my ham, my first ham, I decided to use my one remaining oven bag (another thing I source from the States) and a special glaze. Check it out: I started with these…

and of course this…

(See below to read why I choose a non-smoked joint)

It must have been good, because before I knew it I was left with this…

Here’s what you need:

  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbs mustard
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • a bit of black pepper
  • a ham joint =p

Here’s what you do:

  1. Throw it all (minus the ham) in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. It should reduce and get sticky.
  2. Put ham in oven bag, tie it up, cut off excess plastic, and cut slits in the top of the bag. Place in oven dish and bake at 12OC/250F
  3. About 10 minutes before the ham is done (see note), take it out of the oven, split open and pull back the oven bag, use a pastry brush to brush on 1/4 of glaze. Increase heat to 175C/350F.
  4. Return to oven for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven. Place ham on cutting board. Throw away oven bag. Cut ham in slices according to pre-marked lines. Return ham to pan, cover with remaining glaze. Return to oven for 5 more minutes to let glaze permeate the meat. Take out and serve =)
  • NOTE: Most spiral cut hams are pre-cooked, if this is the case with your joint then the point in step 2 when ham is almost done is at 110F. If (like mine) your ham is not pre-cooked then 145F is the temperature you’re looking for. If you think your ham is pre-cooked and it turns out not to be, don’t worry – just put it back in the oven till it reaches 145F. For a full chart on types of ham and cooking times, here’s the USDA guidelines

Inspiration: Cook’s Illustrated


Puns aside, recent research has suggested pretty conclusively that cooking meat at high temperatures or until it’s “well done” increases the risk of developing a whole host of cancers. Cooking food (red meat, poultry, and to a lesser extent fish) at high temperatures or for a long time releases certain chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Strong evidence, not just from animal studies, but also from large cohort and populations studies indicate that these chemicals increase the risk of developing of colon, prostate, stomach, pancreatic, lung, and breast cancer. Evidence isn’t as strong as say the case for cigarettes causing cancer, but it is strong enough to warrant caution.

For me, that caution means avoiding smoked, grilled, or charred meats. But, if you really love your grill, there are still ways of reducing the risk:

  1. keep the heat down
  2. avoid flare ups
  3. use marinades
  4. flip food often
  5. pre-cook food in the microwave for a couple of minutes before putting it on the grill

And my number one super easy tip – Use a meat thermometerPut it in the thickest part of the meat before you put it in the oven and set it to beep as soon as it’s reached a safe temperature. Not only will you be protecting yourself from scary chemicals, but you’ll also ensure juicy delicious food =)

Want to read more? Check out Robert J Davis’s Coffee is Bad Good For You

2 comments on “Maple Orange Glaze (plus a cancer prevention tip)

  1. Pingback: Temptation Tuesdays « Doctorate Housewife

  2. Pingback: 33 Easter Recipes and Crafts - Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks

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This entry was posted on April 10, 2012 by in Dinner, Healthy Living, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , .

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