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    Traditional Homemade Polish Ham Recipe

    Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

    Ham is one of the most distinctive dishes in Polish cuisine, present on holiday tables and family gatherings for generations. Its intense flavor and tenderness have made it a symbol of culinary tradition. In this article, you will learn how to prepare traditional Polish ham – brined and scalded – in a simple way in the comfort of your home.

    Brined and scalded ham is an integral part of Polish cuisine. Making it at home might be a challenge, but the end result will surely reward your efforts. The intense flavor, aromatic spice blend, and tenderness of the meat will make this traditional dish a hit with your family and friends.


    • 1.5-2 kg boneless pork shoulder
    • 100 g salt
    • 40 g sugar
    • 5 juniper berries
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 5 cloves
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
    • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
    • 1 cup of ice
    • Natural ham glaze (optional)


    1. In a mortar, grind juniper berries, cloves, garlic, black pepper, and mustard seeds into a smooth paste.
    2. In a bowl, combine salt, sugar, and the prepared spice paste from the mortar. Mix well.
    3. Wash and dry the pork shoulder thoroughly. Then gently massage the prepared brine mixture into the meat on both sides.
    4. Place the meat in a large drawstring bag or a heat-resistant container. Add bay leaves and a cup of ice. Close the bag or cover the container with plastic wrap.
    5. Place the pork in the refrigerator for about 7-10 days, depending on the size of the meat. Turn the meat and massage it in the brine mixture once a day.

    Scalding the Ham

    1. After brining, remove the pork from the refrigerator and rinse it thoroughly under cold water to remove excess salt.
    2. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. You can add a few peppercorns and a bay leaf to the water for extra flavor.
    3. Once the water starts boiling, place the pork shoulder in the pot. Reduce the heat to a minimum and simmer the ham for about 1.5-2 hours until it becomes tender.
    4. Remove the meat from the pot and let it cool.


    1. Pat down and dry the cooled ham. If desired, you can brush it with a natural ham glaze to enhance the flavor.
    2. The ham can be served cold, sliced into thin pieces as a main snack or as an accompaniment to a meal.

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