Can You Freeze a Ham for 2 Years? (Must-Read)

Can You Freeze a Ham for 2 Years
Foods Questions

Freezing ham is the best way to make it safe and last long. But can you freeze a ham for 2 years?

Yes, you can freeze a ham for 2 years as long as it is stored properly. However, it is important to note that frozen foods’ may deteriorate when in the freezer for too long. A freezer-burned ham is still safe to eat though.

That said, it is very important that you store your ham properly in the freezer. The lifespan of frozen food is somehow dependent on how it is stored.

Also, it is important to know that the details of freezing ham depend on the type of ham and its size.

How to freeze ham properly?

Though it is hard to believe, not all ham survives freezing. Freezing a ham or any other meat for that matter is not the same as just placing it in your freezer.

Also, you need to know that there are different methods of freezing ham and each method may affect how long (and safe) your frozen back will last.

To learn how to freeze a ham properly, you need to know that the main goal is to stop bacterial growth in frozen foods.

Studies have shown that it’s not only bacteria that can grow in your freezer. So, it is better to prevent it from growing altogether instead of removing it after its growth has started.

Here are some ways on how to freeze ham properly:

  1. Wrap it first with a plastic wrap or foil tightly around the bone. If you are using foil, make sure that there are no holes for air to get through. Once wrapped, place it in a freezer bag and seal it well.
  2. You can also use vacuum-sealing bags if you want to. They are more durable than foil or plastic wraps and will help preserve the quality of your ham for a longer time.
  3. Defrost the meat on a plate to make sure that it drains excess liquid and any bacteria that may have grown with it during freezing. It is important not to put frozen meat in a microwave since splatters of water can spread in the microwave and spoil your food.
  4. The thaw should be done at a temperature of about 40 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid any bacteria growth that may have been caused by defrosting it. Make sure that you don’t refreeze ham once it has been thawed as it will only contaminate the frozen meat further.

Freezing a ham is not hard as long as it is done properly. Precaution becomes important when you realize that bacteria grow faster at lower temperatures.

So, to freeze ham for 2 years, always remember to wrap it well and thaw it in the fridge instead of using a microwave.

Though freezing ham will make your food last longer, it doesn’t mean that food lasts forever.

If you are wondering how long does ham lasts in a freezer, you need to know that frozen foods will not stay fresh forever.

You can freeze your ham for 2 years but it doesn’t mean it will also be safe and edible when thawed after 2 years.

How to freeze cooked ham?

It is recommended that you cook and then cool down your braised or baked ham before freezing it. However, if you wish to freeze it immediately after cooking, make sure that the temperature inside the container is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit before sealing it for best results.

If you are going to place a frozen ham inside another freezer bag for extra protection, be careful not to smash or puncture the wrap because this will compromise its seal and cause leaking.

You can also use appropriate containers like styrofoam boxes or metal food cans so long as they are well wrapped with multiple layers of plastic wrap.

Freezing cooked ham on a flat surface in small batches helps promote quick freezing and will prevent the ham from direct contact with the ice so that it will not be adversely affected by moisture build-up.

If you are freezing cooked ham in larger pieces, make sure that you wrap them first to avoid physical damage during the thawing process later on.

Freezing can affect your food in other ways too aside from quality deterioration.

For instance, certain components of an item like fat and water may separate once they have been frozen which makes defrosted items taste unpleasant.

How long can you freeze cooked ham?

Cooked ham can be frozen for up to 2 months. However, if you freeze it for a longer time, make sure that there is some air left in the container before sealing it so that the ham will not be affected by freezer burn.

If it is already heated and frozen solid, don’t thaw unless you have cooked a portion of your ham first. Freezing cooked ham is a good way to preserve it before you eat it.

When you purchase ready-cooked ham, I recommend packing them in an air-tight container or freezer bag and then placing the bag inside another freezer bag for extra protection.

The best way to check the quality of a frozen ham is to see if it still looks fresh and shiny.

If you are planning to cook an already defrosted ham, use it immediately because reheating will make the meat tough and dry.

If you are not going to use your frozen ham within three months after storing it, consider freezing another one instead so that you don’t have to worry if your first choice has spoiled by the time when you need it.

Cooking should start at room temperature and should also include steaming any vegetables or potatoes that will be served with your meal.

Just make sure that all leftovers get properly cooled before you freeze them.

The USDA states that you can store cooked ham at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 2 months.

However, if you decide to store your food longer than this, make sure that the container that it is stored in has the right packaging and wrapping so that it will be safe from harmful elements such as insects or rodents.

You should also look into how long the item can safely stay on a buffet table without spoiling and apply these observations when storing it in the freezer.

What happens when you freeze cooked ham?

Freezing ham does not mean that all bacteria will die immediately upon freezing.

In fact, certain bacteria will actually thrive in freezing temperatures but they are usually harmless because their growth rate is significantly reduced by cold temperatures.

It is however best to cook ham before storing it in the freezer because cooking will kill a lot of bacteria that are present in raw meat.

Freezing ham can actually cause some physical changes in the meat itself, which may affect its quality and texture.

The fat cells inside the meat tend to shrink causing the overall firmness and texture of cooked ham to deteriorate once thawed.

Make sure that you handle frozen cooked food properly so that you will not damage its shape or structure when placed back into a hot pan for reheating.

If your cooked ham has already been frozen solid and then defrosted for storage, make sure that there isn’t any water left at the bottom of your pan after cooking to avoid the possible formation of bacterial spores.

How long can cooked ham last in the freezer?

Cooked ham will last for up to 2 months in the freezer provided that it has been stored properly. The USDA recommends storing cooked food for no more than 4 months in a freezer before using it.

However, you can extend your ham’s usable life by keeping it below 0 degrees Fahrenheit and used within 6 months after defrosting.

Final Thoughts

The beauty about ham is that you can store it in the freezer for too long. But can you freeze a ham for 2 years? The answer is yes. It is possible.

You can freeze a ham for two years, but the rule of thumb is to thaw and cook immediately after freezing.  Just reheat the ham, serve it on a platter with different kinds of vegetables and potatoes, followed by dessert.

Enjoy and share your creation with friends and family!

Related Questions

Can you freeze ham?

Yes, you can freeze ham as long as it is done properly. To learn how to freeze ham safely, read the article above.

How long can ham last in the freezer?

Freezing a ham for 2 years is possible but it doesn’t mean that your food will last that long once it’s thawed. Healthy food is always best eaten fresh so that you can enjoy the full flavor of your ham.

Can you freeze ham after it has gone bad?

You can still freeze a ham after it has gone bad but it will only last for a few days in the freezer and won’t be safe to eat even when defrosted.

Do hams expire?

Ham has an expiration date just like any other food and it is important to know the date on your ham before you freeze or consume it.

How long can a ham be frozen?

The meat will not last forever even if you decide to freeze them properly so be sure that they are eaten before their expiration dates.

Do you freeze hams in the package they are sold in?

Yes, you can. Just make sure that it is tightly wrapped first before placing them in the freezer bag for extra protection against bacteria growth.

How many hams can you freeze at a time?

As many as you want! There will be no problem if you decide to stock your freezer with hams but just be sure to wrap and freeze them individually.