Ham comes in a variety of vibrant tastes, and I believe this makes it stand out from any other ingredient for your sandwich. But how long does ham last?
This mostly depends on the processing method because some may stay longer than others may.
I come from a family of people who believe in fresh food, and from time to time, they don't mind having a ham from my tremendous and unique recipes.
For this reason, I try my best to ensure everyone enjoys their ham sandwich.
Recently, my neighbor came around and found a ham sandwich, and to my surprise, I'm getting a lot of sandwich orders.
I can confidently say you can never go wrong with ham. It's tasty, versatile, and perfectly brings out the savories in whichever sandwich you want to eat.
Ham, like any other processed food, can only remain consumable for some time. When not opened, you can still eat it past the expiry date.
However, this only applies to frozen ham. In room temperature, the ham should not be left for more than 1 hour. Dry-cured ham can last for 24 months outside the fridge.
If you're a ham enthusiast who doesn't know so much about this deli meat, I believe this article is for you. Here, you'll learn so much from cured ham, an unopened pack of ham, ham's shelf life, and so much more.
How Long Does Ham Last in the Freezer?
So many things will determine the period ham can remain fresh in the freezer. If you packaged it in the right way, then ham will be consumable even past the use-by date period.
Also, maintaining the freezer temperature can keep the ham fresh for an unlimited time. To avoid a different taste, you can at least let it sit in the freezer for 5 weeks. Freezing does wonders for the variety of available ham.
The only downside to freezing ham is that when thawing, it will lose its taste. Unless you’re in a hurry, defrost ham in the refrigerator overnight in the middle rack.
The Safest Way To Freeze Your Ham.
First, you need to have a clean ham slicer to ensure no contaminant comes in contact with the ham A knife for your ham, if possible, should not be used to cut cheese or onions.
Although you can opt for a jar, a freezer bag goes a long way because it doesn't take up so much space.
- Slice your cured or cooked ham into sizes of your choice. It is worth noting that thinner slices leave that pleasant taste on your tongue.
- Depending on the period you plan to have the ham, you can place them in different freezer bags.
- Sometimes days may turn out to be extremely busy, so labeling each kit will help use the ham within a specified time.
How Long Does Ham Last Out of the Fridge?
Fresh ham shouldn’t stay at room temperature for more than one hour. If you’ll not use ham within three days, it’s best frozen at a constant temperature of around 35 C.
Deli meats stay fresh in cold temperatures where they can maintain their quality. When you leave ham at room temperature at 90 C, bacteria grow fast on the surface, and although you may heat it, getting a stomach ache is still possible.
If it’s a whole ham, it can stay fresh for longer since pathogens can’t easily access the inside. Depending on the risk you’re willing to take unless you’re eating it yourself, maybe but not serving it to others.
When should you throw out your ham?
If you store your ham in the fridge past the use-by date, it will likely go bad, especially when not well sealed.
If you see any grey molds or it feels slimy, throw away the ham. Another thing to look out for is a bad smell. Fresh ham doesn’t produce any odor.
Simple ham recipe at home
Making your ham is also simple as long as you have the needed recipes. They include pickling spices, five tablespoons of curing Prague powder or curing salt, ½ cup honey, water, 5 pounds of pork leg, and one teaspoon of sea salt.
Curing the pork
Place the pork in a large bowl then fill the pot with lukewarm water. Add in the pickling spice, honey, Prague powder or curing salt, and salt. Stir well; you can use your hands but ensure they’re clean to mix all angles well.
Cover well then put in the refrigerator for five days to start brining. Each day represents one pound of ham.
Preparing the ham
- Remove the ham from the refrigerator and rinse it thoroughly. After five days, it will have finished the brining process.
- Immerse the ham in a big pan filled with water then allow it to boil on medium heat. Allow it to simmer for 30 minutes until the inside temperature reaches 155 F.
- After cooking, let it cool down completely. Refrigerate or serve immediately.
How long does smoked ham last in the fridge?
Typically, hams from grocery stores come when cooked or cured. This makes them different from the meat that comes from the butchery. So as long as you refrigerate them always, there’s no need to worry.
When unopened one and a half weeks in the fridge means you can still enjoy ham’s freshness and its delectable taste.
Nevertheless, when you open your ham, you should eat it for under one week unless you’re sure it didn’t come in contact with any pathogens. However, it’s better to be safe than to be sorry.
You also won’t enjoy ham that’s dried on the edges; hence, it also takes a little work on wrapping the ham. After opening, use an airtight wrap, which you must change every time because the water droplets can be an agent for contamination.
When you cut big slices, it becomes chewier, so small pieces will work best. If you use an airtight tin, it will remain moist, but molds may start developing on the surfaces after some time.
How Long Does Cured Ham Last?
When not cut, dry-cured ham can last for 24 months outside the fridge. On the other hand, a cut one won’t spoil but will dry up, making it hard to eat. Ranchers leave theirs hanging in the smokehouses for at least six months before eating.
It’s advisable to cut cured ham if you plan on eating within a few weeks to maintain the moistness and taste.
If molds grow on the surface, you can wipe them off using vinegar. Vinegar is an old preservative, which can help cured harm to last indefinitely.
Experts who cure ham say that the deli meat gets better as time goes by as long as much keenness is observed during the storage time.
How Long Does Deli Ham Last?
Depending on whether it’s whole or sliced, deli meats have a different shelf life. Some are cured, smoked, while others are not.
When in the refrigerator, deli meats remain consumable for up to 14 days if not opened. However, a pack of opened deli meat must be eaten after three days.
When frozen, deli meats depending on cured or not cured can stay up to six months. Although people who process them in large quantities and have coolers say they can stay longer, eating deli meats when they have their natural taste is better.
Did you also know that the deli meats you get from stores have stayed for some time before dispatch?
Is it safe to consume unopened ham past the use-by date?
If your ham is appropriately stored in the fridge, you can still eat after two weeks past the use-by date.
If you fall sick, the symptoms of eating expired ham won’t last for a long time. However, if symptoms persist, you must seek the help of a doctor.
The common symptoms associated with eating lousy food include dizziness, fever, vomiting frequently, cramps in the stomach, and continuous diarrhea.
What can you use your leftover ham for?
At times when you visit the store, you’ll find discounted ham available. It may be a lot to consume throughout the week, so instead of binning it, you can use it. For instance, here’s a salad recipe from ham and other unusual ingredients.
- Fresh peas
- Shredded ham
- Two teaspoons of sugar
- Natural yogurt
- Roughly chopped mint
- A bunch of sliced spring onions
- Two separated leaves of lettuce
Slightly cook your peas in hot water for two minutes. Ensure it maintains the green color. Mix with a little of the mint leaves, potatoes, chopped spring onions, ham. Add in the yogurt, and sugar then spread evenly on your salad.
What is the best way to cook my ham?
Ham can be cooked in many different ways. You can bake it if cooking in large chunks or deep fry if in small pieces.
The most important thing is trying as much as possible to maintain the taste and flavor.