How Much Salt Is Removed by Soaking Ham

How Much Salt Is Removed by Soaking Ham

Soaking ham in salt brine will make the brine more palatable, improve texture and reduce water loss. However, you should know that some salt solution is always lost when cooking the ham in a brine for an extended period. So, how much salt is removed by soaking ham? Continue reading for a full review.

The amount of salt that will be removed depends on the soaking time and the solution used. For example, soaking in 1 quart of hot vinegar/water mixture removes around 90% of the added salt from a pound of ham, while soaking in one quart of hot water plus 2 tablespoons table salt removes about 60%.

Soak ham for 2-3 hours in a solution made of 1-quart water and 1/4 cup baking soda, 1-quart water, 2 tablespoons table salt, or 1 cup vinegar (heated to 160 degrees) 1-quart water. 

However, soaking the ham in a saltwater bath is a common method of removing excess salt before cooking. The advantage of soaking a ham in brine is that the ham absorbs part of the brine and takes on a new flavor while the salt is extracted from the meat. The amount of salt removed will depend on the length of time the ham is soaked.

How Much Salt Is Removed by Soaking Ham

How Much Salt Is Removed by Soaking HamThe amount of salt removed by soaking ham varies based on several factors, including:

  1. The size and shape of the ham
  2. How long you are soaking the ham
  3. How much water is covering the ham
  4. What temperature is the water
  5. The type of salt that was used to cure the ham

For example, if you soak a precooked ham (such as Smithfield), you will remove approximately half of the 4 grams of sodium per serving. However, if you soak a raw wet-cured ham, such as Smithfield’s Uncured Ham, sodium will go down to about 300 milligrams per serving.

According to a Department of Food Science and Technology study, soaking ham in water can remove between 30% and 50% of its salt content.

How to Get Salt Out of Precooked Ham

If you accidentally buy a pre-cooked ham that is too salty, don’t worry—it’s easy to get the salt out.

First, fill your sink with water.

Then, slice off a small part of the ham and taste it. If the meat still tastes too salty, add more water to the sink until you can taste a difference.

Now for the fun part! Put the ham into the sink and let it soak for about 20 minutes. Pull out your ham and taste a small piece again when time is up. It should be significantly less salty than before. If not, let it soak longer, checking in every few minutes to ensure it doesn’t become too bland. When satisfied with the taste, blot your ham dry and enjoy.

Alternatively, Here is a step-by-step guide.

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stovetop. Use a big pot to accommodate the ham.

2. Drop in the meat and allow it to cook in the boiling water for five minutes. Turn off the heat and drain the water.

3. Transfer the ham to an ice bath to cool it. It will stop any more cooking.

4. Replace the water and boil it again for five minutes, then allow it to cool again in an ice bath. Repeat this process several times until you have removed as much salt as possible from the ham’s surface.

How to Make Ham Less Salty After Cooking

If you have made your ham a little too salty, here is how to make it less salty.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. If the meat’s already in slices, separate them.

2. In a large bowl, mix a gallon of water with 1 cup of table salt.

3. Soak the slices in the salt water for anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours, depending on how salty you want them to be. The longer it soaks, the less salty it’ll be when you cook it next time.

4. You can put the meat back in the fridge if you’re not cooking it immediately (soaking will take some moisture out of the ham). If you are cooking it, drain and rinse the slices, then pat them dry with a paper towel or clean cloth before cooking.

However, you can easily make ham less salty by soaking it in a pot of water overnight (or longer) in the refrigerator. If you don’t want to wait, you can soak it in cool water for an hour or two and then rinse it off. Other options are to soak it in milk or salt-free broth.

How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Ham?

How Long Can You Freeze Cooked HamI recommend freezing cooked ham for as short a time as possible.

If you freeze your cooked ham, it will stay fresh for 6 months. But the longer you wait, the less flavorful and crumbly it will be.

It is because freezing changes the structure of meat fibers, which makes them less pliable and juicy when thawed. Freezing also changes the texture of your ham by causing the formation of ice crystals that reduce moisture and make your ham drier. That’s why it’s best only to freeze cooked ham if you need it later.

So, if you want to keep your ham fresh, you’ll have to freeze it pretty quickly after cooking and probably in airtight packaging. Also, make sure that your ham isn’t kept at a temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit anywhere along the line between when you cook it and when you put it away in the freezer.

 However, if you do need to freeze cooked ham, follow these steps:

1. Wrap the fully-cooked ham in foil or plastic wrap so that no air can reach it

2. Place into a freezer bag or airtight container for added protection against freezer burn (optional)

3. Store frozen until ready for use, up to 6 months

Does Ginger Ale Remove Salt from Ham?

If you want to remove salt from ham, ginger ale is not the best way. Salt is an ionic compound, which means it is made with positive ions and negative ions attracted to each other. 

Ginger ale is a polar solvent, meaning the water molecules have positive and negative ends due to the uneven distribution of their charges. That allows them to attract sodium and chloride ions in salt. But the process takes time—you won’t see any results after just 15 minutes, for example. It also won’t be as effective as rinsing the ham with water.

So if you want to remove some of the salt from your ham before serving it, don’t rely on ginger ale. Instead, your best bet is to rinse the ham under cold running water for a few minutes before cooking it or reduce the amount of salt in your recipe altogether.

However, you might be able to use something like a meat tenderizer to remove the salty taste from your ham. You can also try rinsing the ham or soaking it in water before cooking it.

Does Boiling Ham Remove Salt?

Boiling your ham can help reduce the sodium level by 40 percent. However, it’s important to note that the sodium in ham varies depending on the method used to cure it, so you will want to check the label before deciding how much to boil your ham.

For example, fresh ham is more likely to lose more salt than cured ham when boiled for different amounts of time. However, there is also an optimal amount of time for the ham to be boiled to preserve its texture and flavor without removing too much salt.

There are a few different methods to reduce your ham’s saltiness when boiling it. See the following:

1. Soak the ham in water for 2-3 hours before boiling. It will help to extract the salt.

2. Boil the ham in a water mixture and broth or wine. The dilution will help to offset the saltiness.

3. Add vegetables like celery and carrots to neutralize some saltiness.

4) After boiling, soak the ham overnight in a solution of baking soda and water (1/2 cup baking soda per gallon of water).

Does Freezing Ham Make It Salty?

Does Freezing Ham Make It SaltyIt depends. If you’re freezing a pre-sliced ham, it will make it saltier. But if you freeze a cooked ham whole or in larger slices, freezing it won’t make it any saltier than it was before.

If you’re cooking a ham that has been frozen, you should simmer it at a lower temperature than normally recommended. The colder temperatures will keep the meat from getting as tender as usual, so cooking it too hot or too quickly will make the meat tougher than you’d like.

Freezing fresh ham can help preserve its flavor and texture by preventing bacteria from growing inside the meat. In addition, frozen ham does not lose any nutritional value during storage (although defrosting is always ideal for optimal nutrition and taste).

In general, there is a misconception that freezing meat will make it saltier, but this is not true. Freezing meat makes the salt in the beef less concentrated, so if you are making a brine for ham, it will taste sweeter than usual when you cook it.

How to Desalt a Ham Quickly

It is essential to desalt smoked ham because it is often too salty for consumption. The desalting process involves soaking the meat in cold water and changing the water frequently. It is a lengthy process that can take up to several days, depending on the size of the ham.

Follow these easy steps to desalt your ham:

1. Fill a large stockpot with water. You’ll need enough to submerge the ham entirely, so put in as much as you think you’ll need. You can always add more later.

2. Place the ham in the water and let it sit for at least half an hour.

3. After soaking it, remove the ham from the water and discard that water. Next, refill the pot with fresh water, return your ham to the pot and let it soak for another hour or more.

4. After this second round of soaking is complete, check if it’s still too salty for your taste. If it is, repeat step two until it is sufficiently desalted.

However, the quickest way to desalt your ham is to steam it. If you have a steamer basket in your house, put the ham in the basket and set it over a pot with about an inch of water in the bottom. Steam it for 20 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). 

It will remove excess saltiness from your ham while also sealing in its juicy flavor, so if you have time to prep a steamer basket and boil some water on the stove, this is our recommendation.

If you don’t have plenty of time and you don’t have access to a steamer basket/bamboo steamer, you can still desalt your ham quickly by soaking it in brine.

How Long to Soak Salt Cured Ham

Soaking salt-cured ham is a pretty simple process. First, you’ll want to rinse the ham and set it in a large bowl or pan. Then cover it completely with water. The amount of time will highly depend on the thickness of the ham, but generally, you can expect it to take between 12 and 24 hours. You should change the water every 6 to 8 hours during this process.

Once you’ve completed that, rinse your ham again and set it in a large pot or dutch oven—whichever is appropriate for its size. Then cover with water before boiling it for an hour or so. Next, you can add apple cider vinegar, carrots, onions, celery, peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves, or whatever else strikes your fancy!

Once you’re done boiling your ham, you’ll want to let it cool before slicing and serving. If you’re going to add some spice/flavor to your ham before slicing, try coating it in brown sugar before baking.

How Long Can You Freeze a Spiral Ham?

How Long Can You Freeze a Spiral HamYou can freeze a spiral ham, but only for up to 3 months. For best results, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in a freezer bag. If you defrost it in the fridge, plan on about 4 days for every 5 pounds of meat (but longer is also acceptable). And if you need to defrost it faster, put it in a pan under cold running water.

However, Freezing a spiral ham can result in a significant loss of quality, including texture and flavor. According to the USDA, the only safe way to freeze a ham is if you’re planning on using it within 3 months.

The best way you can freeze a spiral ham is to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then put it in an airtight freezer bag. Next, put the wrapped ham in the coldest part of your freezer, but not directly against the back wall (the ham will freeze faster there and be more likely to get freezer burn). 

Can You Freeze Wafer Thin Ham?

Several factors decide whether or not to freeze wafer-thin ham, starting with the question of how much you have. If it’s an entire ham, then the answer might be yes. But if it’s just a few slices? Probably not.

To freeze wafer thin ham, follow these steps:

Step 1: Take your wafer-thin ham out of its original packaging (if any) and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

Step 2: Place the wrapped ham into a resealable freezer bag—make sure you remove all excess air by pressing down on the bag around the wrapped meat before sealing it shut.

Step 3: Put the sealed freezer bag in a larger freezer bag for added protection and pop it in the freezer.

However, if you freeze wafer thin ham, the texture will be compromised when thawed; it will become mushy. As such, I recommend not freezing this type of meat.

What Type of Ham Is Less Salty

What Type of Ham Is Less SaltyThe type of ham that is less salty is country ham. Country ham is smoked and traditionally served at breakfast. It’s made by rubbing salt and spices on a raw, unsmoked ham, then hanging it up to air-dry for a week or more. This process can reduce the salt levels in the meat by as much as 30%.

Use Virginia-style ham for a more mild flavor, typically cured with honey or brown sugar and smoked over fruitwood chips.

However, using a solution of water, salt, and sugar or honey (or both) to cure ham is the most common preparation method in the United States.

In addition to curing hams in this way, some producers inject the animal with a brine solution of water, salt, and other ingredients to make the meat more tender and moist. Unfortunately, this process can add a significant amount of sodium to the meat—up to 220 milligrams per serving. 

Meanwhile, since these products are cooked after being injected with brine, you can’t reduce their saltiness by rinsing them with water as you might do with raw meat.

When you’re at the grocery store, check the ingredient lists on labels for words like “sodium phosphate,” “sodium diacetate,” and “sodium nitrite.” These words all indicate the presence of salt.


Ham can still be a part of a healthy lifestyle, but overeating ham and other salty foods can lead to high blood pressure. However, how much salt is removed by soaking ham is a way that you can control your salt intake by soaking the ham in water with ice added to it for several hours. It should reduce the amount of salt absorbed by soaking. 

Also, do not worry too much about the fat surrounding the ham when buying now since most of it will go away when cooking.

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