In this brief guide, we will answer the question “How long do ham steaks last in the fridge?”, discuss how to tell if ham steaks have gone bad, and how you can store ham steaks.
How long do ham steaks last in the fridge?
If sealed in the original packing and unopened, then ham steaks should be good until the best-by date on the packaging. In the refrigerator, ham steaks will last 3-5 days. In the freezer, they can last for up to 1-2 months.
How to know when the ham has gone bad?
Whether you have fresh, uncooked ham or ham steaks in your refrigerator, you will easily know when it goes bad by its unpleasant odor, weird color, or by the growth of abnormal fuzz on it. To decide either you have to throw away the ham steaks or consume them, look through the following things:
- Unpleasant odor
If your ham smells funky, it is probably spoiled. Bad meat gives off a sulfur-type odor, which is almost always noticeable right away. Open up the package and take a big whiff of the ham before preparing it or eating it. Ham should smell fresh and salty if it is cured or possibly smokey if it is smoked instead of appalling to your nose.
- Change in color
Fully cooked ham is the same sort of pink as an uncooked ham, uncured ham will be a paler pink. For a fully cooked ham, the rosy pink color stems from the curing process that involves injecting the meat with sodium nitrate. Sodium nitrate also helps to preserve freshness and improve moisture content. When the ham starts changing to a different color such as grey, brown, black or green, it is likely time to toss the ham.
- Formation of moldy spots
Mold is something that you will never want to see on your stored edible products. Molds can also produce mycotoxins, which are poisonous compounds, and can make you sick. Also, certain bacteria grow alongside the molds, thereby increasing the chances of your sickness after consumption of moldy food. The mold spots formed on the ham can also be the reason for some respiratory issues, especially for people who are allergic to certain foods. So, if your ham has a fuzzy outer coating, throw it away. Don’t forget to seal such a ham package to avoid any sort of airborne contamination.
What happens when you eat bad ham steaks?
As discussed earlier, bad ham steaks have a fuzzy outer coating and also certain bacteria such as Listeria and Staphylococcus aureus, that grow alongside the molds. These mycotoxins can be the reason for several adverse health effects that range from acute poisoning to long term effects such as immune deficiency and cancer. On the other hand, the bacteria can lead to food poisoning with symptoms that include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever, convulsions, and confusion.
These signs will appear after 2-3 days of the consumption of bad ham steaks, depending on the incubation period of the bacteria, and will last until the bacteria is out of your system.
How to increase the shelf life of ham steaks?
To extend the shelf life of ham steaks, store them immediately in the refrigerator after use. If you want to keep prepared ham steaks, store them in a tightly closed container to keep out moisture and other contaminants.
How can you store ham steaks?
No matter what type of ham you are dealing with, there are always two options to store; either fridge or refrigerator.
First of all, wrap the ham steaks in a plastic wrap or air-tight container. This will help in creating a vacuum and preventing the ham steaks from the moisture, and taking up the smell of any other food that is kept in the fridge.
It is better to cover the wrapped ham steak with aluminum foil to ensure that they are well covered, so the smell will not leak to the whole fridge and the ham steak does not dry out.
How do you cook a ham steak?
For cooking a ham steak, follow these steps:
- To a skillet, add 2-3 tablespoons of butter or olive oil and place it over medium-high heat.
- When the butter melts or the skillet is hot enough, add the ham.
- Cook it from each side for 3-4 minutes, or until it is cooked thoroughly.
- Remove the ham from the skillet.
- For an additional sauce, add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar along with a fresh squeeze of orange.
- When the brown sugar bubble up, caramelize a bit before serving it on the ham.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long do ham steaks last in the fridge?”, discussed how to tell if ham steaks have gone bad, and how you can store ham steaks.