Butcher inspired to bring back Yorkshire Hams

Butcher’s shop Lishman’s of Ilkley, from West Yorkshire, is taking a trip down memory lane this Christmas by producing traditional York Hams.

David Lishman said the hams had fallen out of favour in recent times, due to their time-consuming production methods: “It is a forgotten ham nowadays when speed is of the essence and there is little time for traditional preservation techniques. These traditional York Hams would be a minimum of two months old before they were ready to be cooked.”

However, the business is now offering them to consumers for Christmas, after spending the summer months curing and preparing.

David explained he was inspired to bring the hams back due to an interesting family history: “Dad grew up on a farm near Knaresborough, where a German prisoner of war called Henrik, a butcher in his home country, was also working – and extremely happy to be away from the Russian fronts.

“His wartime job on the farm was to kill and cure pigs and he used to hang the York dry-cured hams among the cobwebs in the roof of a barn to keep the flies away. Bacon was also cured in much the same way.

“This fascinating story gave us the drive to create some wonderful new traditional hams.

“We have been busy preparing and dry-curing real York Hams to age-old traditions and in the time-honoured way, but with a slightly more modern feel.”

There are a limited number of York Hams available now, and the first has already been despatched to a customer from Oxfordshire.

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