Hams are available in a wide variety of sizes. Cooked ham is sold by the pound in slices or as deli meat. A whole ham can range from a small ham at 5 pounds all the way up to a 19-pound spiral ham that’s fit for a family. Depending on how much sliced or whole ham you’re serving, it’s highly likely that you’ll have leftover ham after a gathering. You can only eat leftover ham for so long before you start wondering what else to do with it. Can you freeze ham if all else fails?
Absolutely! Freezing ham is a simple and easy process to follow. All you need to do is cover the ham in plastic wrap or foil before sealing it in a freezer safe bag. The same process works for cooked ham slices, diced ham, or any other ham servings you can think up.
This way, you’ll always have access to delicious meat and your favorite country ham without having to resort to canned ham. Not only will you have leftovers any time you want, but cooked ham can be quickly reheated for a meal that can feed the whole family.
Table of Contents
- Can You Freeze Cooked Ham?
- Can You Freeze Honey Baked Ham?
- Can You Freeze Ham Salad?
- Can You Freeze Ham More Than Once After Thawing?
- How Long Can You Freeze Ham?
- Can You Freeze Ham In A Standard Household Freezer?
- What Are The Risks Of Storing Ham In The Freezer?
- What’s The Best Way To Thaw Ham Properly?
- What’s The Recommended Way To Reheat Ham In The Oven?
- What Are The Best Leftover Ham Recipes?
- Final Thoughts
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Can You Freeze Cooked Ham?
You can freeze cooked ham the same way as uncooked ham. In fact, even a whole ham from the store is often pre-cooked and only needs to be reheated before serving. To save space or only use a bit of ham at a time, such as when you only need a ham bone or a few ham slices, you can cut the cooked ham into smaller pieces. Previously frozen diced ham can be used in salads or soups.
Can You Freeze Honey Baked Ham?
Honey baked ham is glazed with a honey-based sauce or plain honey before baking. This gives the cooked ham a sweeter flavor to offset the salty taste of the ham. Since there’s so little honey involved, you can freeze honey baked ham just like any other kind of cooked ham.
Can You Freeze Ham Salad?
Ham salad is a popular dish to make with leftover ham, but freezing ham salad isn’t quite the same thing as freezing ham by itself. Ham salad is usually made with diced ham, mayonnaise, onions, and celery. It can be eaten by itself or served on bread or crackers. The additional ingredients affect how well you can freeze the complete dish.
Freezing ham salad risks making the food watery after it thaws out. The safest way to freeze ham salad is in an airtight container. Ham salad made using diced ham will last for up to 3 months. Before eating, thaw it in the refrigerator and then eat within 3 days.
Can You Freeze Ham More Than Once After Thawing?
You shouldn’t freeze ham multiple times because the temperature fluctuations can cause bacteria to multiply. Every time the ham enters warmer temperature bands, it starts picking up bacteria that doesn’t go away once you put the ham back in the freezer. This could result in having a frozen ham that appears fine when really it could make people sick.
Once you thaw ham, you should eat the meat or discard it. That will prevent the ham from accidentally accumulating harmful bacteria.
How Long Can You Freeze Ham?
Uncooked ham will last longer than leftover cooked ham. Although both cooked ham and uncooked ham can last up to 6 months in the freezer, leftover cooked ham will only last for up to 3 months before it runs the risk of drying out. The exact duration of freshness will depend on how well the ham is sealed against the air by plastic wrap or an outer bag.
Can You Freeze Ham In A Standard Household Freezer?
It’s possible to freeze cooked ham in a regular freezer, but the dimensions may make it difficult to freeze a whole ham. Some people have more than one refrigerator at home or freeze ham and other meats in a chest freezer to leave space in the main freezer.
While it’s possible to freeze uncooked ham in a household freezer, extra care should be taken to protect other foods from leaks or direct exposure to the uncooked ham. Uncooked ham can contain bacteria or even parasites that are killed off during the cooking process.
What Are The Risks Of Storing Ham In The Freezer?
Storing ham in the freezer is completely safe, but you risk losing some of the quality and texture of fresh ham. If you didn’t prepare the ham properly for freezing, it may have freezer burn or ice crystals when you take it out of the freezer. This results from exposure to oxygen and the ham drying out over time. If you notice these problems repeatedly, check the internal temperature of your freezer to ensure it’s in a recommended range.
It’s understandable that you might not want to eat ham that has ice crystals or signs of damage. You can always add the ham to a soup or stew where it won’t be as noticeable. Cutting the ham into smaller portions will help it blend into a larger dish.
You can use freezer bags or a vacuum-sealing system to help avoid freezer burn. Vacuum sealed bags use a device that heat seals each portion and removes the air for fully airtight storage.
What’s The Best Way To Thaw Ham Properly?
When you’re ready to thaw ham, take it out of the freezer and place the uncooked or cooked ham in the refrigerator. Leave the frozen ham there overnight. To reheat leftover ham in the oven after thawing, cover the ham with aluminum foil and follow the baking directions for the weight and size. After all, a whole ham will take longer to reheat than diced ham.
What’s The Recommended Way To Reheat Ham In The Oven?
If you want to reheat ham in the oven, the best way is to place the ham in a pan and cover with aluminum foil. You can arrange sliced ham or diced ham on a baking sheet instead if you’re used to freezing smaller portions. Cook the ham at 350 degrees, and allow it to bake for half an hour per pound. You can eat ham by itself or serve it with side dishes such as mashed potatoes or cornbread.
What Are The Best Leftover Ham Recipes?
There are all kinds of leftover ham recipes to make use of ham slices, honey ham, or other bits of meat. Once you freeze leftover ham, you’ll have plenty of time to think about how you want to use the frozen ham. You can use it bit by bit in soups like split pea and ham, or you can pair it with vegetables like collard greens for a heartier combination.
If you’re looking for ways to eat cold ham, a ham and cheese sandwich is a classic. While most people imagine these sandwiches with ham slices or deli ham, you can also use pieces of spiral ham or even ham salad to round out your lunch.
Another great recipe makes good use of the ham bone as well. A ham bone packs a ton of flavor, making it a great addition to a soup, stew, or casserole. This is also the perfect way to add some complementary flavors with hearty vegetables or chicken broth.
As you can see by now, the answer to the question of can you freeze ham is yes, of course! Using the storage techniques we went over you should now have the confidence to freeze your ham properly and also know how to defrost it easily and safely. We hope this has been helpful for you!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Can You Freeze The Ham Bone By Itself?
Believe it or not, you can freeze a ham bone the same way as freezing the meat. Simply wrap it and place it in a bag, just like storing cooked ham. Make sure you cover all exposed parts and keep away from extremely cold areas. While it’s less common with thick bones, it’s possible for bones to crack or break in the freezer.
When it’s time to use the bone, allow it to thaw and slowly rise in temperature by placing it in the refrigerator the night before you need it.
What Is The Best Way To Freeze Sliced Spiral Ham?
The best way to freeze sliced spiral ham or deli ham is to separate each piece with freezer paper. This will keep the meat from sticking together while in the freezer. It also makes it simple to pull out one or two pieces in smaller portions instead of having to defrost a large ham all at once. Even though the ham is sliced, you can still use it in many delicious ways or cut it into a new shape that better suits your recipe.
Can You Cook Ham In A Crock Pot After Freezing?
A crock pot or slow cooker is a convenient way to reheat ham. Simply thaw the ham in advance until you can pour the contents out of the freezer bag or vacuum sealed bag. Set the slow cooker to low to allow the ham to slowly thaw and reheat. Add other ingredients according to your favorite recipes or look up some easy recipes online if you’re still learning the best ways to use ham properly in a range of dishes.