How to store a Christmas ham?

In this article, we will answer the question “How to store a Christmas ham?”, and how to make glazed ham?

How to store a Christmas ham?

Recent times have seen a growing awareness surrounding the negative repercussions associated with the production and consumption of meat products. These focus primarily around environmental outcomes, such as greenhouse gas emissions; ethical concerns for the animals raised under intensive farming conditions; and the inefficiency of meat production in terms of resource use and the capacity to feed an ever increasing world population. Despite the growing recognition of these concerns in the USA, meat consumption there is at three times the global average and also rose 5% in 2015–a jump larger than any that had been seen since the 1970s (3).

Storing a bone-in ham 

Bone-in hams last up to a week in the fridge if stored in their original packaging. Freezing extends the shelf-life of the ham for up to 3 months. However, the sooner you consume the frozen bone-in ham, the better. 

An opened package of bone-in ham can be refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving it, freezing it, or discarding it. 

Cooked uncured ham has a shelf life of 3-4 days in the refrigerator and up to 4 months when frozen. Uncooked uncured ham has a shelf life of 3-5 days in the refrigerator and up to 6 months when frozen (2).

Storing a boneless ham 

Canned hams have remarkable shelf stability. Canned hams do not go bad for up to 9 months  if stored correctly in a cool cupboard or cellar (2). Refrigerated boneless ham can be safely kept for up to a week. After a week, you either toss the ham or extend its shelf-life by popping it in the fridge. 

Although freezing a canned ham is unnecessary, it is a safe option if it is not possible to maintain a constant temperature in the pantry, cellar, or cupboard.

U.S. country, uncooked, uncut ham can be stored 2 to 3 months under refrigeration (removed from refrigerator 12 hours before cooking) or can be frozen for 1 month. This ham can be hung (do not lay it flat on a hard surface) and stored at room temperature, preferably in a cool, dry place, for up to 1 year and after one year is still safe to eat but quality may suffer. U.S. country ham that has been cooked can be refrigerated for 7 days or frozen for a month before consumption. Prosciutto, Parma or Serrano or dry Italian or Spanish type that have been cut can be stored 2 to 3 months under refrigeration or frozen for one month (1).

How to make glazed ham?


  • 5 kg / 10 lb leg ham, bone-in, skin-on (Note 1)
  • 1 cup (250ml) water

Glaze-choose one 

  • 1 batch Maple Ham Glaze (extra special)
  • 1 batch Brown Sugar Ham Glaze (classic!)
  • Or another ham glaze of choice


  1. Remove your ham from the fridge and let it sit outside for about an hour before continuing with the recipe.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F (140°C fans). Set the shelf in the lower third of the oven. 
  3. Gather all the ingredients for the glaze and continue as per the instructions of your preferred glaze recipe. 
  4. Remove ham rind (skin)
  5. Slide a small knife around the bone handle to cut through the ham rind.
  6. Trim the rind from each side of the ham, from the cut face of the ham, down to the cut you just made around the handle of the bone.
  7. Slide the knife between the fat and skin layer on the cut face of the ham.
  8. Loosen the rind by stuffing your fingers into the cut face of the ham. Move the fingers back and forth under the rind until the rind comes off. Use a knife to ease the process. 

Scoring fat (making diamonds)

  1. Make 2.5cm / 1″ diamond cuts on the fat surface of the ham. The cuts should not run deep. They should only pierce about 75% deep into the fat. 
  2. Stuff the intersection of the cross of each diamond with a clove. 

Glaze and baking 

  1. Place the ham in a large baking dish. For leveling, the surface of the ham in contact with the baking dish, Prop the handle up on the edge of the pan and wrap it with a piece of scrunched-up foil.
  1. Spoon or brush the glaze over the surface and cut the face of the ham. The underside of the ham will be naturally glazed when the glaze poured on top of the ham will drip.
  2. Fill the baking dish with water and slide it into the oven.
  3. Bake the ham for about 2 hours in the oven. Baste the ham after every 30 minutes until the time is up.
  4. Some spots on the ham surface brown quicker than the others. To ensure an evenly browned surface, cover these patches with foil pieces. 
  5. Let the ham rest for about 20 minutes before slicing it. During this time, keep basting the ham with the juices. 

Serving and presentation tips 

Sauce: The pan juices are the best sauce for the ham. Apply only sparingly since the flavor of these juices is quite sharp. Thin the glaze with water if it thickens too much upon cooling.

Presentation: Cover the handle with baking paper and ribbon to enhance the appeal. Remove the cloves before serving. Decorate the serving platter with plenty of green fluff before topping it with ham. Add quartered or slices of oranges and other fruits on the sides to add a pop of color.

Serving: It depends upon you whether to serve your ham warm or at room temperature. Slice the ham thinly and drizzle with lots of pan juices.

What to do with leftover Christmas ham?

Refrigerate the ham before deciding on how to use it. Since ham is a super versatile food, it makes for a delicious addition to most dishes such as eggs Benedict, baked ham and cheese frittata, or on a breakfast bagel with avocado, ham, and cheese.

For lunch, you can toss your ham with ricotta and balsamic figs to complete your salad bowl. Other options are green egg and ham wrap or our easy ham and zucchini quiche.

Other common ham leftover recipes include pea and ham soup, pea and ham brown rice salad, and summer spaghetti with peas and ham.

Other FAQs about Ham that you may be interested in.

Can you freeze a spiral ham?

Can you freeze leftover Christmas ham?

Can you freeze Christmas ham on the bone?


In this article, we answered the question “How to store a Christmas ham?”, and how to make glazed ham?


  1. Ockerman, Herbert W., et al. Comparison of European and American systems of production and consumption of dry-cured hams. Fact Sheet, Pork Info. Gateway, 2002. USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
  2. Foodkeeper. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  3. Wilks, Matti, and Clive JC Phillips. Attitudes to in vitro meat: A survey of potential consumers in the United States. PloS one, 2017, 12, e0171904.