Now that the holidays have wrapped up and Easter is only a few months away, many people are curious as to whether they can safely freeze their leftover ham. Oftentimes, an entire ham is too much for a small family so it makes sense to freeze the leftovers. Ham can be safely frozen without any problems, as long as you go about freezing it in the proper manner. Let’s take a deeper look at the process of freezing ham.

The Types Of Ham That You Can Freeze

All sorts of ham styles can be frozen. This includes raw ham, fully cooked ham, sliced ham and uncured ham. There is only one scenario in which you should not freeze ham. Never freeze ham when it is in a can and has not been opened. Wait until you’ve opened canned ham and have taken it out of the can before proceeding to freeze it.

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Preserve Taste With A Tight Wrap

Some people who’ve frozen ham have said that the freezing process impacts the quality of the meat. This isn’t completely true. In order to preserve the flavor and integrity of your ham, you should focus on the proper wrapping technique. If you wrap your ham correctly, it will taste fabulous once it has thawed out. Those who plan on keeping the ham in the freezer for an especially long time should spend even more time wrapping it tightly. Ideally, you’ll have the equipment available to vacuum pack the ham instead of wrapping it.

How Long Frozen Ham Can Last

Experts recommend freezing uncooked, uncured and fresh ham for 6 months or less. If the ham has already been cooked, it should be frozen for 2 months or less. If you plan on freezing a ham for more than a couple of months, you should buy it uncooked, put it in the freezer and then thaw it when you are ready to cook it.

Freezing Sliced Ham

Sliced ham

Image used under Creative Commons from Steven Lilley

When freezing sliced ham, put each slice into a package and wrap them as tightly as possible. Try not to put more than a couple slices in each package. Use either freezer foil or aluminum foil unless you have the equipment to vacuum pack your ham. If you want to freeze these wrapped slices for more than a month, it is prudent to place them into airtight containers or freezer bags. If you have both at your disposal, go with freezer bags as you’ll be able to squeeze out all of the excess air and cut down on freezer burn.

Freezing A Whole Ham

When freezing a whole ham, you can put it directly into the freezer if it is in its original package and you won’t be putting it in your freezer for more than a month. If you’d like to freeze your whole ham for an extended period of time, wrap it with a couple layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. Or, put it in a freezer bag after squeezing out all of the bag’s air. If the ham’s package has been opened, wrap it as tightly as possible with either freezer wrap or aluminum foil. If you plan on freezing ham from an opened package for more than a month use regular aluminum foil and then put it in a freezer bag.

The Thawing Process

Once you remove your frozen ham from the freezer, let it thaw in the fridge. The frozen ham is going to release some moisture so make sure that it rests on a plate during the thawing process. You can also thaw out your ham by submerging it in water with the plastic or aluminum foil still on its outside. If you freeze your ham properly, you won’t have to live off of it in the weeks immediately following family feasts and holiday get-togethers. Your ham will stay fresh in your freezer with nearly all of its flavor preserved for at least a month or more.