Q. My husband cooked a whole ham for a dinner party we hosted last night, but it was so big we ended up with almost half a ham left over. We’ve sliced some of it up for quiches and ham sandwiches, but still find ourselves left with a great big piece of ham we can’t possibly finish in the next few days. I know that you can freeze uncooked ham, but I’ve heard different opinions on whether it’s safe to freeze cooked ham. I don’t want to ruin the meat or get sick. Can you freeze cooked ham?
A. As a matter of fact, it is perfectly safe to freeze both cooked and uncooked ham. Ham is easily ruined in the freezer if proper precautions aren’t taken to protect it during the freezing process, which may be why some people believe it’s not safe to freeze cooked ham. Ham should be frozen as quickly after cooking as possible to retain its maximum juiciness, freshness, and flavour. Ham that has been left in the refrigerator too long will be dry and tasteless if frozen, so freeze your ham as soon as possible.
How to Freeze Cooked Ham?
To freeze cooked ham, determine if you will eat the whole piece in one sitting, or if it would make more sense to cut it into smaller pieces, slices, or even cubes. Once you’ve decided, prepare the ham and then get ready to freeze it. For large pieces of cooked ham, wrap the ham in a double layer of plastic wrap, and then place it in a freezer bag if it will fit for extra protection. Seal the bag, label and date it, and then place it in the freezer. For slices or cubes, place them in freezer bags. Squeeze out the excess air, and then seal the bags. If you have a vacuum seal food storage system, that would work great as well. Label and date the bags and place them in the freezer. Frozen ham should be consumed within three to four months of freezing.
How to Thaw Cooked Ham?
To thaw cooked ham, remove the ham from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Never thaw ham on the counter. Alternately, frozen ham could be placed directly into the oven for reheating, or cubed ham could be placed directly into a recipe such as a soup without the need to thaw it first.