If you are wanting your ham to last long and stay fresh then freezing is the ideal option for you. But how long will this last in the freezer?
Can Ham Be Frozen For 2 Years?
Yes, ham can be frozen for as long as two years. However, with an item of food in the freezer for that long you need to be sure that you are storing it correctly to avoid any chances of freezer burn.
The Correct Way To Freeze Your Ham
Freezing your ham is not as simple as placing your meat in the freezer and waiting for two years. It is important for it to be stored correctly as not all ham can survive the entire two years. There are many risks including potential freezer burn or may not be edible.
There are several ways in which you can freeze ham to ensure its long life.
If you are wanting to freeze sliced ham, use a sealable bag. Make sure that all of the air has left the bag before sealing it as you do not want any open air entering for the entire two years. This prevents freezer burn.
Using plastic wrap ensure extra security and is great for storing a large ham. Simply wrap your ham in the plastic wrap securely (or aluminum foil!) and place in a bag before placing in the freezer.
Can I Freeze Cooked Ham For 2 Years?
There is a difference between freezing cooked ham and uncooked ham. Uncooked ham can stay frozen for two years as it is fresh and has not been tampered with.
With cooked ham, however, this has already been handled, seasoned, boiled/cooked in the oven. After two years of your cooked ham being frozen, it will inevitably loose it flavor and its quality.
Six months is the maximum time you should freeze your ham. In order to keep it secure and ensure its quality, double wrap your cooked ham in plastic wrap. This will also keep as much flavor in as possible.
What To Expect From a 2 Year Old Ham
After leaving your ham in the freezer for two years, what should you be expecting?
Well, after leaving meat for as long a time as this you should not be prepared to indulge in a high quality ham. Naturally, the quality of the meat will have reduced but this is not to say that it is not worth freezing.
If stored correctly, your ham will be safe to eat. As well as this, your ham will still taste good enough to eat. It is all in how you choose to season your meat which makes it.
Defrosting Your Ham
When it comes to risks in safety, this is mainly surrounding the defrosting part. It is very important to know how to defrost your ham, especially after freezing it for two years.
To help you thaw your ham in the safest way, we have put together some of the best ways to do this.
Cold Water Method
The cold water method takes time and it is important to keep an eye on your meat during the process, but it is still an effective way to thaw your ham safely.
To do this, place your ham in a sealed bag before placing this in a bowl of cold water (it is very important to use cold water as warm/hot water will create bacteria). Change the cold water every 30 minutes until the ham has completely defrosted.
For a ham that is 10 pounds you will find the cold water method taking up to 8 hours. For a ham as small as 5 pounds, this will take up to 3 hours to thaw.
You will find many people choosing to thaw their ham in the refrigerator. This is an easier option for many as you are not needing to keep a close eye on it, however this method does take longer.
All you need to do is take your ham and place it into a bowl before placing it in the refrigerator. The bowl prevents any raw juices from leaking out into the fridge.
A 5 pound ham should take up to 24 hours to fully defrost whilst a larger 10 pound ham takes up at 3 days. It is important to plan ahead before choosing to defrost your ham in the refrigerator.
Only use the microwave if you are defrosting a small enough ham. Do not try to defrost a large ham in the microwave.
Simply place your ham in a microwavable dish to catch all the leaking juices and set your microwave to ‘defrost’ mode. Once it has been thawed, make sure to cook your meat immediately after.
Can A Frozen Ham Go Bad?
It is completely possible for your frozen ham to go bad. This can occur if you have not stored your ham away correctly and bacteria has come through. Your ham can also turn bad if it has suffered from freezer burn.
How To Tell If Your Frozen Ham Has Gone Bad
There are clear signs indicating your ham has gone bad in the freezer. The three things you should look for is its appearance, its smell and its touch.
Your ham will not be its usual vibrant pink but instead a dull grey tone.
If you open your freezer and smell a strong sour odor, that is most likely a spoilt ham.
The final step is to touch your ham. If its outer layer is slimy, this is a sign to throw your ham out.
If you are wanting your ham to last, then freezing it is the best choice. Unopened ham can last as long as two years in the freezer however it is important to make sure that you store your ham correctly.
Once correctly stored, you will be able to defrost your meat safely and look forward to a delicious ham feast.