Yes, you can freeze ham to extend its shelf-life. Freezing ham properly extends the expiry by preserving its flavor and texture. Keeping ham in the freezer can also yield better taste over time compared to fridge storage for the same duration.
Freezing ham in its original packaging may not provide optimal protection against freezer burn, whereas freezing it in individual or smaller serving sizes ensures better preservation of quality. Individual packaging minimizes air exposure, thereby maintaining freshness and longevity more effectively.
How To Freeze Ham Safely
- Whether you have brand new or leftover ham, choose your storage method. We typically recommend airtight plastic/glass containers or sturdy freezer bags for long-term storage freshness.
- Transfer it to where you plan to keep it.
- Be sure to leave about 1-2 inches of headspace to allow for expansion. Don’t leave too much room though because best practice is to limit air exposure as much as possible when freezing food.
- Label your containers or freezer bags as ‘Frozen ham’ with today’s date.
- Place the bags flat in the freezer so they freeze quickly. If you’re using containers instead, place them in the freezer upright. Once completely frozen, both the bags and containers can be stacked and/or positioned upright.
When you’re ready to eat the ham you just froze, do not thaw it at room temperature. Read our guide on how to thaw ham safely. Not only will it help you avoid foodborne illnesses, using the proper defrosting techniques keeps its quality & texture intact.
How Long Can You Freeze Ham?
You can freeze ham for up to 6 months as long as it’s frozen correctly. Freezing ham slows down spoilage, extends expiry, and allows you to store it for an increased time but all frozen food expires eventually.
Freeze smaller ham portions within 2-3 days of purchasing for optimal freshness. Store leftover ham in an airtight container after it’s initially opened.
Removing & defrosting frozen ham within 4-6 months of freezer storage helps to prevent freezer burn, off-flavoring, and food poisoning. Anything longer than that puts the food at risk of:
|Decreased Nutritional Value
|Over time, prolonged freezing can reduce the vitamins and minerals in ham, diminishing its nutritional benefits.
|Consume frozen ham within the recommended period to retain more nutrients.
|Change in Texture
|Extended freezing can alter the texture of ham, potentially making it less appealing in texture.
|Use thawed ham in cooked dishes where texture changes are less noticeable.
|Increased Risk of Spoilage
|Keeping ham frozen for too long increases the risk of spoilage once thawed, even if it doesn’t show visible signs of freezer burn.
|Plan and use your frozen ham strategically to avoid waste and enjoy optimal quality.