Curing meat is an old tradition that was done for years out of necessity. Before people had refrigerators, meat would spoil quickly if it wasn’t preserved in some way. After animals, especially hogs, were slaughtered much of their meat was cured with salt, sugar, and spices. Doing this kept the meat from spoiling for much longer amounts of time—sometimes a year or more!
Knox County 4-H and Knox County FFA began the 4-H Country Ham Project in mid-January. Through this project, youth experienced the process of curing a ham, as well as learning about animal science and communications. The project began in January when participants met to apply the salt cure to the hams. Throughout the spring & summer, participants meet to clean their ham and prepare their speech for the final project.
Last week, the hams got a final cleaning and were entered in the Kentucky State Fair. The 4-H Country Ham project draws in hundreds of youth participants from across the state each year.
This year, Jonathan West took home 4th place for his speech and 5th place overall in his age category.