Where Does Ham Come From?

Ham is processed pork meat that is preserved through smoking, curing or salting and was traditionally made from the leg of swine. While ham was once made solely from pork, it is now made around the world from other meats, such as turkey.

The Chinese first used pigs for food in 4900 B.C., with Europe following suit by 1500 B.C. The word "ham" is derived from the Old English word "hamm." George A. Hormel & Company invented canned ham in the United States in 1926. The exact meaning of the term "ham" is controlled in the United States and European Union, which means that food products must meet specific criteria in order to qualify as ham.