Can you freeze a ham?

In this brief article, we’ll explore the query: “Can you freeze a ham?” Also, we’ll explore how a ham can be frozen, what ham is, what the nutritional content of ham is, and whether or not ham is healthy to eat. 

Can you freeze a ham

Yes, ham, whether it be cooked, cured, sliced, or whole, can be frozen. Freezing is an especially handy storage alternative when dealing with large volumes of ham that won’t be consumed in a single sit-down, family gathering, or during a few days while it sits in the refrigerator.

How can I freeze ham

How ham should be frozen will depend on its presentation, namely, the size of the portions and whether or not it’s been sliced. 

For example, vacuum-sealed, unopened ham can be frozen simply by placing it inside a chest freezer or inside of a refrigerator’s freezer (if you’ve got the space to spare). 

In the case of leftover ham, which has been opened and cooked, it should first be dry and cooled, then wrapped in plastic cling wrap before being placed in either an air-tight freezer bag or freeze-resistant Tupperware. 

The cling wrap will prevent freeze burn once the meat has cooled and dry ham will not form crystals on the surface once frozen. 

The amount of time for which ham can remain frozen will depend on the quality, and how big the portion is when frozen. 

Below, we’ve made a chart indicating the timeframes for which different hams can remain stored in the freezer. 

Ham type/ presentationTime for which it can remain frozen
Fresh, uncured, uncooked ham6 months
Fresh uncured, cooked hamUp to 4 months
Cured, cook-before-eating ham (sliced or whole) Up to 4 months
Fully cooked ham, unopenedUp to 2 months
Cooked whole hamUp to 2 months
Cooked ham that has been sliced, halved of spiraledUp to 2 months
Cooked country hamOne month maximum
Canned shelf-stable ham (spam type) that has been opened 1 to 2 months
Prosciutto, Serrano or Parma air-dried and salt-cured hams (sliced)One month maximum. 

Source: BHG.com

Similarly, thawing frozen ham will depend on the size of the portions, and the type of ham. 

Larger, uncarved hams may take up to three days in refrigeration to thaw out, while smaller portions and slices take less time. 

Once thawed, frozen ham can be kept in refrigeration for up to 5 days, at which point its freshness will begin to decline and it will begin to spoil. 

What is ham

The term ham alludes to processed meat that can be salted, cured, dried, smoked, and historically, was made from a pig’s leg, though nowadays, hame can also be made from scraps of meat that have been ground and packed together.   

There are many variations made throughout the world, and in some places, the processing of ham can be considered a specialty, such as Serrano hams and Prosciutto, which are subject to protected, region-based designations. 

Hams can be made by dry-salting, or wet-salting, which is also known as brining, and they can be smoked, and seasoned with ingredients such as garlic, cumin, nuts, and dried fruits. 

Ham is common lunch meat that can be sourced from other animals such as turkeys and chicken and can be sold whole as a gourmet dish, packaged in slices, or sliced and sold in delicatessens per weight. 

What is the nutritional content of ham? 

The exact nutritional content of ham will depend on its type, ingredients, and the meat it was sourced from. 

On average, 57 grams of ham will provide: 

  • 69 calories
  • 11 grams of protein
  • 2 grams of fat
  • 1.5 grams of carbohydrates – of which 1.25 grams are sugar

Also, it will provide sodium (26% of the suggested daily intake), iron, potassium, selenium, phosphorus, copper, and magnesium. Also, some brands offer low-fat, low-sodium variations, while other brands may have different concentrations to obtain a signature taste. 

Is ham healthy to eat? 

When eaten in moderation, ham can be considered part of a healthy diet, as it is a source of protein and some hams may be leaner than other available lunch meats and processed meats. 

However, it should not be made a staple in one’s diet, as it is rich in sodium, and may be made with aromatic salts such as sodium benzoate, which, when combined with ascorbic acid, may result in benzene, which is a carcinogenic aromatic compound. 

Patients diagnosed with high blood pressure, kidney disease, and heart disease should not readily indulge in eating ham, as it has a high amount of sodium. 

The sodium present in ham can also lead to the formation of kidney stones, and an increased risk of digestive cancers. 

As processed meat, the daily intake of ham should not exceed 70 grams a day, per NHS guidelines

To summarize; we recommend that ham be enjoyed in moderation, and combined with a balanced diet and a lifestyle that includes aerobic exercise. 

Conclusion

In this brief article, we’ll explore the query: “Can you freeze a ham?” Also, we’ll explore how a ham can be frozen, what ham is, what the nutritional content of ham is, and whether or not ham is healthy to eat.  

References

https://www.bhg.com/recipes/how-to/food-storage-safety/how-long-do-leftovers-last/

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/food-guidelines-and-food-labels/red-meat-and-the-risk-of-bowel-cancer/#:~:text=Recommendations%20for%20red%20and%20processed%20meat&text=If%20you%20eat%20more%20than,or%20swapping%20them%20for%20alternatives.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-ham-healthy#how-much-to-eat

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ham

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.