Apr 7, 2013

The Best Way to Freeze Leftover Ham!


Freezer Door and notes close up

Easter certainly left plenty of leftover ham in its wake.  Not only are leftovers plentiful but the sale on ham this time of year may lure you into buying more.  Rather than surviving on ham for next month, you can safely freeze it to enjoy at a later date.

Safety Chart for Freezing Ham

  • Uncured, uncooked, and fresh can be frozen up to 6 months.
  • Cured, uncooked ham can be frozen 3 to 4 months.
  • Cured, cook before eating, cooked ham can be frozen for 1 to 2 months
  • Cooked, store wrapped ham can be frozen 1 to 2 months

For a full list please visit FoodSafety.gov.

What You Need

  • aluminum foil or plastic wrap
  • freezer bags or airtight container

Methods of Freezing

To freeze a ham first decide if you want to freeze it sliced, diced, or whole.  Once you prepare the ham portions to your specifications you will need to wrap it.

The trick is to wrap it very tightly.

Wrap sliced or diced ham in aluminum foil and place in a freezer bag or airtight container.  Freezer bags are ideal since you can squeeze the air out.

If you plan to freeze a whole ham in the original package you can just place it in the freezer.  Wrap it in aluminum foil for an extended stay in your freezer.  If the ham is out of the original packaging then wrap it tightly with aluminum foil and place in a freezer bag.

You may skip the freezer bag if the ham will be used in less than a month.  Again, the main thing to remember is to wrap the ham tightly.  If you have a Food Saver or other vacuum sealer, that would definitely be ideal.  Make sure you label your freezer bags with the contents and date.

If you are purchasing ham with the intent to freeze then purchase uncooked ham.  Not only is uncooked ham cheaper it will freeze longer and taste fresher once defrosted and cooked.

Thawing Your Ham

To defrost your ham, put it in the refrigerator to thaw or submerge it in water while keeping it wrapped in the plastic or aluminum foil.  It is normal for ham to appear slick once thawed.

Richele McFarlin Richele McFarlin, author of Under the Golden Apple Tree, and founder of Moms of Dyslexics, enjoys a good cup of coffee as she demonstrates her ability to wrestle HTML to the ground and write from the heart.  You can also find her on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest!
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