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Ham is a tradition for Christmas dinner. The ham you find in your supermarket is almost always fully cooked and ready to serve immediately. Most people prefer to heat the ham, and a glaze adds flavor and makes for a gorgeous presentation.

Also, you can cook your favorite potatoes (red skinned or mashed with real butter), macaroni and cheese, string beans, candied yams, greens, black eye peas (which is also a must have for New Year’s day), greens, fresh baked rolls and cranberry sauce.  You know we must have our sweet tea to wash it all down with a side of lemon!  Somebody grab me a plate.

One of the best tips I found about baking ham is to place the meat cut side down on the roasting pan and cover the ham with a foil tent. This preserves the moisture in the ham. The foil is removed for the last 15-20 minutes of cooking. To burnish the glaze, turn your oven to broil for 5 minutes. Make sure to watch the ham carefully, because these glazes which are high in sugar can burn very easily.

Make sure to read the label on the ham you purchase. Partially cooked hams need to be baked about 20 minutes per pound, until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. Fully cooked hams need about 10 minutes per pound baking time, just to reheat them.

You can buy bone-in or boneless hams. Bone-in hams tend to be more flavorful, but they are more difficult to carve. I prefer boneless hams, just because the presentation is nicer. If you serve a bone-in ham, figure on 1/2 to 3/4 of a pound per person. For boneless hams, 1/4 to 1/2 pound per person is an accurate serving measure. Buy the higher amount to ensure lots of leftovers!

Spiral sliced hams are a newer invention. These are fully cooked hams that are sliced using a special machine so the meat literally falls apart into thin slices. These hams usually have a glaze baked onto them so all you need to do is heat the ham according to directions that come with the ham.

Leftover ham should be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For longer storage, you can freeze the ham and store it up to 2 months.

Have a wonderful Christmas with family and friends.  Remember the reason for the season.

For more from Latwanas, read her personal blog and follow her on twitter

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What’s On Your Table Christmas Day?  was originally published on