Ham is a staple meal, especially during holidays and family dinners. However, it often comes as a big chunk of meat more than what you need. After the holidays, people are left with large portions of ham that they do not know what to do with.
Ham can last about 7 days in the fridge if not frozen. That does not mean you will be cooking ham sandwiches for your family every day to it all on time. Waiting for what you invested your time and money in to spoil and be thrown away is also not the way to go. So, can you freeze ham and make them last longer than a week? If yes, how do you do it? Read on to find out more!
- Recipe With Ham
- Does Ham Go Bad?
- How Long Does Ham Last?
- Can You Freeze Ham?
- How To Freeze Ham?
- Freezing Ham Tips
- How To Defrost ham?
Recipe With Ham
Ham is a staple food for many families. Whether you want breakfast, lunch, or dinner recipes with ham, you will find it. We may not talk about all the possible Ham recipes, but we will outline a few of them here that you can try out.
Cajun Ham Hash Recipe
|Diced cooked ham||2 cups|
|Sliced green onions||1 ½|
|Diced red bell pepper||1 cup|
|Frozen hash brown potato||3 cups|
|Cajun Seasoning||¾ Tablespoonfuls|
|Crumbled thyme||½ Tablespoonful|
Set a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat and heat oil in it.
Add onions, ham, and red paper and cook for about 5 minutes
Add Cajun seasoning, hash browns, and thyme and stir.
Cook for about 6 minutes or until the hash turns brown and a bit crispy.
Breakfast Enchiladas Recipe
|Diced cooked ham||2 cups|
|Shredded cheddar cheese||2 cups|
|Sliced green onions||½ cup|
|Flour tortillas (8 inch/20 cm||10|
|Hot pepper sauce||½ Tablespoonful|
|Homogenized milk||2 cups|
Mix ham, one cup of cheese, and green onions and sprinkle about a third of the mixture on one side of each tortilla
Roll up the tortillas and place them side down in a greased baking dish. Sprinkle all the ham mixture on the tortillas
Whisk eggs, salt, and hot pepper sauce. Add milk and continue whisking until you achieve a uniform mixture. Pour this mixture over tortillas and then cover with aluminum foil. Put it in a fridge and let it stay overnight.
Remove the tortillas from the fridge and let stand for about 25 minutes under room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake the tortillas for 30 minutes, keeping them covered all the time.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Continue baking for another 20 minutes. But this time, uncovered.
Let it cool for about 5 minutes and serve with sour cream and salsa.
Ham And Broccoli Strata Recipe
|bread cubes||8 cups|
|frozen chopped broccoli||2 cups|
|diced cooked ham||2 cups|
|shredded sharp cheddar cheese||3 cups|
|homo milk||3 cups|
|sliced green onions||2/3 cups|
|Dry Mustard||1 Tablespoonful|
|White pepper||¼ Tablespoonful|
|Hot pepper sauce||¼ Tablespoonful|
Add bread cubes, ham, and broccoli to a baking dish.
Thoroughly mix all other ingredients and pour over the bread mixture. Cover and let stay in a fridge for 24 hours.
Remove from the fridge and let stand at room temperature for about 25 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake uncovered for about 50 minutes. Insert a knife at the center. If it comes clean, it is ready.
Does Ham Go Bad?
Yes. Ham will not last more than 7 days in the fridge, but you can extend its shelf life through freezing. But how do you know that your harm has spoiled and should not be used in any other recipe?
A spoiled ham has unique characteristics you can use to tell whether it is still fresh or not. Do they include the following?
- The meat loses its red color and turns lighter.
- The container or bag has a lot of air. It has a different smell in many cases.
- If the ham has been in a freezer for more than six months, it is clear that it has spoiled. That is the longest time a frozen ham can be preserved.
- If the meat looks like it is encased in ice crystals, chances are, it is no longer fresh.
Spoiled meat should never be eaten or used in any recipe. Its structure and texture have been destroyed. And in many cases, has bacteria and other microorganisms. These can cause food poison to any individual. Do not even think of giving them to your dogs.
How Long Does Ham Last?
The shelf life of ham depends on whether it is cooked, cured, or fresh and the storage method. Without freezing, ham can only last about 7 days in your fridge and much shorter in the pantry. How do the listed factors affect the shelf life of ham?
Uncured and uncooked harm can last up to 6 months in a freezer. If your ham is uncured but cooked, it can possibly last between 3 to 4 months, depending on how it was frozen. You, therefore, need to follow the procedure when freezing ham and use only recommended freezer bags if you want the maximum shelf life.
Before stating how long cured ham can last in a freezer, let us warn you that you should not eat cured ham raw. Always use it in cooked recipes to stay safe.
Cured and uncooked ham can last between 3 and 4 months, just like fresh and cooked. Once cooked, the shelf life significantly drops. It can last only between 1 and 2 months.
All cooked hams last the same when frozen. Whether sealed, unopened, sliced, or store-wrapped, they will last just about 1 to 2 months. The same applies to canned ham. However, you should not freeze the canned ham when it is still closed.
How long ham lasts also depends on its quality. Dry hams are known to last longer than watery ones. You should check that on the package label before buying.
Can You Freeze Ham?
Yes. You can successfully freeze ham for later use. So, next time you go to a store, you can buy ham in bulk, especially if they are on promotion. Also, do not think that any leftovers after a family dinner or party can go to waste. You only need a freezer and freezing bags to extend the life for up to 6 months. Move to the next section to find details on how to freeze ham.
How To Freeze Ham?
Freezing ham is possible, but you should expect some slight changes in taste and consistency. Frozen ham might feel spongy and have a saltier flavor, depending on the freezing approach used. However, that should not be a problem if you want to use them at home. They even prove to be better in cooked recipes.
Before stating how to freeze ham, let us remind you that you need to first cool them. You can do this by putting them in a fridge for a few hours.
The freezing method used depends on whether it is a whole ham, sliced ham, or ham bone. Get the details below:
Freezing the Whole Ham
Put your whole ham in aluminum foil or freezer paper if you have one. After that, place them in a sealable container or freezer bag. Drive as much air out of the container or bag as possible and then seal it.
Write the freezing date on the bag or container so that you can better track the time. Place it in the freezer. Your whole ham can stay fresh in the freezer for up to 6 months. It also depends on the conditions named in the shelf life of the ham section.
Freezing Ham Slices
Freezing ham as slices are preferred. It makes it easier to take out only the portion you want to use in your recipe without disturbing the rest. If you do not have a reason for freezing your ham as a whole, then you should slice them into pieces.
Slice ham into pieces of your preferred sizes. That can depend on how you intend to use them later.
Separate the pieces into serve-size portions and freeze them separately. Put them in a sealable freezer bag or container.
Remove as much air from the container or bag as you can, then seal it. Label the dates and store them in a freezer.
Freezing Ham Bone
Follow the same procedure to freeze ham bone. These can be later used as pet feed or to make ham bone soup. If you have not tasted that delicacy, then we think that you are missing out a lot.
Freezing Ham Tips
We have already hinted at some of the things you should do when freezing ham. The following are the summarized versions and more tips.
- Slice ham into small pieces before freezing.
- Always freeze only cold ham. You can do that by keeping them in a fridge for a few hours.
- Use only sealable or airtight containers or freezer bags to freeze your ham.
- Frozen ham is best used within 6 months of storage. Do not forget to indicate the freezing date on the container or bag for easy tracking.
How To Defrost ham?
You can defrost ham in different ways. The method you choose depends on how fast you want the ham thawed. The following are some of the methods:
Thawing Ham in a Fridge
It will take about 24-48 hours for the ham to defrost in the fridge. That depends on the size of the ham, with the whole ham taking the longest time. It is another reason why you should be slicing your ham before freezing. Sliced ham takes a shorter time to thaw in a fridge.
Take your ham out of the freezer bags and wrap them with aluminum foil before putting it in a fridge. The foil will help in preserving the moisture, preventing it from drying up.
Defrosting Ham Using Cold Water
If you forgot that you should put your ham in the fridge at least 24 hours before the time you intend to use it, go for the cold water. However, this method works best for sliced ham. If you have frozen whole ham, try to cut them into smaller pieces before proceeding with the rest of the steps.
Take the ham slices out of the freezer bag or sealed container and put them in another Ziploc bag. Try to vacuum the freezer bag as much as you can before resealing it.
Put the newly wrapped ham slices in a bowl of cold water. Again, the time it will take to thaw depends on the quantity of ham you are defrosting. For example, one pound of ham takes about 30 minutes to thaw using this method.
Defrosting Ham in a Microwave
If you urgently need to defrost ham, the microwave can be your savior. Set the temperature to a minimum and put the ham in it. Keep checking it from time to time because it will not last long before the process is completed. Once again, the time it takes depends on the ham size.
Cooking Frozen Ham
Thawing makes ham to be cooked faster. If you opt to cook them frozen, then it will take you about 50% longer.
Defrosting ham at room temperature will take an unnecessarily long time. Also, it gives bacteria and other microorganisms to get to the meat and spoil it. Always try to make things faster between thawing to cooking ham to reduce the chances of attracting bacteria.
Ham can last for about 7 days in a fridge if not frozen. Can you freeze ham? Yes, Freezing ham can extend the service life up to 6 months. When freezing ham, slice them into pieces and put them in a freezer bag where the air has been driven out and sealed. Also, do not forget to label the bag for easy date tracking.
You can use frozen ham in many recipes. All you need to do is to thaw it on time, and you are good to go. But you should check if it is spoiled or not. Discarded spoiled ham.