Can You Freeze Ham Slices? Best Tips

Can You Freeze Ham Slices
Foods Questions

Ham is one of the most common ingredients for a delicious recipe on almost all occasions. But since ham is perishable, storing it can be a different story.

If you have leftover ham slices, it can be even more challenging especially if you do not know exactly what to do.

So, can you freeze ham slices?

Sliced ham can be freeze. There is no other way to store a sliced ham other than putting it in a freezer. Freezing will help the sliced ham to stay fresh even for months. For me, freezing is the best way to store sliced ham.

It is important to remember though that the longer ham is frozen, the more its quality decreased. In short, ham could be spoiled when frozen for a long period of time.

When frozen, ham is still safe to eat, but the taste will of course change and may not taste as great as it is in the time it was manufactured.

How Long Sliced Ham Will Last in the Freezer?

The length of time a ham lasts depends on the cut and its quality. When in the freezer, the spiral-cut ham will last for two months. The uncooked uncured ham will last for half a year or six months.

The cooked uncured ham will last for three to four months. Sliced ham will last for six months and still be fresh and safe to eat.

The storage life of ham in the freezer is obviously longer when compared to the storage life of ham when in the fridge. The spiral cut ham will last for three to five days and that same storage life applies to the cooked and uncooked uncured ham.

On the other hand, the quality of the ham also has an effect on the storage life of the ham. The freezing time of the ham is longer when the quality is high. Of course, the better the quality of the ham, the longer is its storage life.

How to Freeze Sliced Ham?

Freezing a sliced ham is as easy as freezing any food. We just need to put it in an appropriate container or freezer bag and then into the freezer. However, there are specific tips and procedures in storing ham, wrapping it, and putting it into the freezer.

Ham should not be put in the freezer just like putting on ice. In order to preserve the texture and taste of the ham, specific procedures should be followed.

Below are some of the simple steps you can do:

1.      Remove the sliced ham from the packaging.

2.      Place the sliced ham on top of the paper towel to remove the excess moisture at the lower part of the slice.

3.      Place another paper towel on top of the ham to completely remove the excess moisture on the upper part of the ham.

4.      Place it inside the freezer bag (the storage bags and airtight containers could also be used).

5.      Squeeze or vacuum the air inside the freezer bag or container and close it firmly.

6.      Using a permanent marker, label it accordingly. Write the content and date in the freezer bag.

7.      Place it in the freezer.

To avoid ham from becoming dry, using a ham bag or a damp tea towel is advised.  Wrapping it in aluminum foil is also effective in keeping the moisture.

How to Thaw Ham?

To use the ham after freezing, it should be thawed or defrosted first. Thawing ham depends on the size of the ham. However, there are many ways to defrost a ham.

1. Fridge

The first thawing or defrosting technique for sliced ham is putting it in the fridge. This is the best thawing technique for sliced ham. The fridge has a higher temperature than the freezer so it also can be used in defrosting the ham.

To do so, just take the ham out of the freezer and put it inside the fridge. This process takes up to one to two days. This process is not possible if you are in a hurry. However, if the ham is cut into smaller portions, thawing can be a lot quicker.

2. Soaking

The second thawing technique for sliced ham is soaking. Soaking in cold water is a popular thawing technique. It is also best for a ham that was cut into smaller portions.

To do this technique, the first step is to put the ham slices into a zip lock bag. The second step is to vacuum or squeeze the air because the air will prevent the bag from submerging.

Third step is to seal the bag and put the zip lock into the bowl of cold water.

This process takes 30 minutes to finally defrost the ham.

3. Microwave 

The third thawing or defrosting technique for sliced ham is through using the microwave. The microwave is one of the fastest thawing techniques. To do this, the ham should be placed inside the microwave. The temperature should be set at low power and the ham needs to be checked from time to time.

4. Cook Frozen

The fourth thawing technique for sliced ham is through cooking. Cooking ham in a frozen state is also possible. However, it will take a longer time to cook the ham than the regular cooking time. The reason is that the ham is being defrosted while being cooked.

When thawing a sliced ham, avoid the following:

1.  Do not thaw ham at room temperature.

2.  Do not leave the ham in the sink because it will get bacteria which will make the ham.

How to Determine Spoiled Ham?

If you store sliced ham for too long, there is a high chance that it can turn bad. When that happens, the ham will no longer safe to consume.

Here are the common signs of a spoiled ham:

1. Bad odor

The first indicator of a spoiled ham is the change in its odor. A fresh ham smells delicious. It does not have a bad odor when it is fresh. So if the ham has a noticeable bad odor after putting it in a freezer, it means that the ham is spoiled.

The bad odor is noticeable from the time the container is opened. If that is the case, the ham should be disposed right away.

2. Color

The second indicator of a spoiled ham is the change in color. The color of the ham is a rosy pink, which is the color effect of the sodium nitrate that was injected during the curing process. Sodium nitrate is what improves the moisture of the ham.

So when the color of the ham is changed, it means that the ham is spoiled. The change in color is noticeable from pink to brown, green, or gray. The ham is not safe to consume anymore.

3. Molds

Another indicator of a spoiled ham is the mold. Mold is a poisonous compound which is known as mycotoxins. Mold can also lead to sickness. So if the ham has mold, therefore, the ham is not safe to eat and should not be consumed.

Final Thought

Ham is one of the most popular perishable foods. This also means that ham especially the sliced ones should be stored properly and correctly to make them consumable.

Can you freeze ham slices for later use? Ham slices can be easily stored in the freezer and be used for future recipes. As long as you do the proper storing, ham slices can last for several months.

The tips shared in this post can be helpful in freezing sliced hams. If you find these tips useful, you are free to use them as a simple guide.

To learn more about freezing foods, feel free to visit the entire page here.