Gammon is a versatile meat. You can serve it as a joint for special occasions, or as steaks with egg and chips. You can use it in a stew or casserole or make a delicious soup out of it.
Slice it and put it in salads or sandwiches. You can even add it to pasta with leeks or make a gammon and pineapple stir fry. However, perhaps you have made too much or it’s on offer at the store and you have stocked up.
Can you freeze it? The simple answer is yes, and in this article we will tell you how to freeze it and how to defrost it.
How To Freeze Gammon
It is possible to freeze gammon either cooked or uncooked.
How To Freeze Uncooked Gammon
You need to be careful when you are handling raw meat as it can contain bacteria that can be transferred to your hands. Remember to wash your hands after handling raw meat or, better still, wear plastic gloves. This is the way to freeze uncooked gammon.
1. Wrap the gammon.
As soon as you get home, prepare the gammon for freezing. The longer you leave it, the more chance there is of bacteria forming. Another advantage of freezing it straight away is that it locks in the freshness of the gammon.
You will need to wrap the gammon in cling film. Wrap it three or four times and make sure that it is tight. If air gets to the gammon, freezer burn can occur and while the gammon will still be safe to eat, it will lose taste and texture.
2. Put the gammon in a freezer bag.
Squeeze out all the air to prevent freezer burn. Put a label on the bag with the day you put it in the freezer. You don’t want to keep it for longer than its use-by date.
How To Freeze Cooked Gammon
1. Cool down the gammon.
You will want to cool down the gammon completely as you don’t want to put it in the freezer while it is still warm as it will bring the temperature up. Other food in the freezer may start to defrost and when refrozen, may spoil.
Put the gammon in a bowl which is in another bowl of cool water. This will speed up the cooling process.
It isn’t a good idea to freeze a whole cooked gammon as it will take a few hours to defrost and food shouldn’t be left at room temperature for longer than two hours otherwise bacteria may start to form. If you have cooked a whole gammon, it is best to cut it in half.
2. Wrap the gammon.
Use a few layers of cling film and wrap the gammon tightly so that freezer burn doesn’t occur.
3. Put the gammon in a freezer bag.
Squeeze out all the air to prevent freezer burn. Attach a label with the date you put it in the freezer.
How To Freeze Sliced Gammon
You can freeze gammon in slices. It takes a little bit of work but it is worth it as you can then take out just as many slices as you need.
1. Cool down the gammon.
2. Slice the gammon.
Slice the gammon quite thickly as it will freeze better. Thin slices may start to fall apart when defrosting.
3. Prepare parchment paper.
Cut out pieces of parchment paper just a little bigger than the slices of gammon.
4. Layer the gammon and parchment paper.
By doing this, you will stop the slices of gammon sticking together meaning that you can remove just the number of slices you want. This saves on waste.
5. Put the gammon in freezer bags.
Make sure that you squeeze out all the air to stop freezer burn from occurring. Put a label on the bag with the date you put the bag in the freezer.
Tips For Freezing Gammon
- Make sure that if you are freezing cooked gammon, that it has cooled down completely so that it doesn’t bring up the temperature in the freezer.
- Freeze uncooked gammon as soon as possible.
- If you can, portion your gammon into meal-size portions so that you only defrost as much gammon as you need for a meal.
- Wrap the gammon in cling film to protect it from the air.
- Put parchment paper in between slices of gammon so that you can take out the number of slices you need.
For How Long Can You Freeze Gammon?
Uncooked gammon can be kept in the freezer for between three and four months. If it is cooked, it lasts longer. You can keep it in the freezer for up to six months. Of course, the sooner you eat it, the better it will taste.
How Do You Defrost Gammon?
We don’t recommend that you cook gammon from frozen. It will be difficult to get it to the right internal temperature when cooking it without burning the outside. The internal temperature should be 145 F.
Don’t defrost it on the counter top either as after two hours, bacteria can start to form. The best way to defrost gammon is slowly in the fridge. This helps to stop bacteria from forming. The length of time it takes for the gammon to defrost varies on the size.
Gammon slices will take just two or three hours but a joint could take up to two days, so you need to plan in advance. You may have to pat the gammon dry as pork retains a lot of moisture when it is defrosted.
Can You Refreeze Gammon?
Pork is one of those meats that can be dangerous if not handled properly (see also Can You Freeze Black Pudding Safely?). It doesn’t take that much for bacteria to form. However, cooking does destroy enough of this bacteria to make it safe to eat.
Refreezing pork is not recommended because every time you freeze, defrost, and refreeze there is a greater chance for bacteria to form. Refreezing also changes the taste and texture of the meat and it won’t be as delicious.
Is It a Good Idea To Freeze Gammon?
Gammon does freeze well as long as you are careful handling it and follow our instructions for freezing it and defrosting it. If you do, you probably won’t notice much difference between defrosted gammon and fresh.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing gammon, but perhaps you want to know more about it. If so, we have answered a few questions here.
What part of the pig does gammon come from?
Gammon comes from the hind leg of the pig. It is cured by dry-salting or brining which may or may not be smoked.
Can you freeze glazed gammon?
You can freeze glazed gammon but you need to do this when it has been cooked. Just follow our instructions for freezing cooked gammon. You can freeze it as a joint or slices.
Can you freeze gammon steaks?
Yes, you can. There might be just two of you so to freeze a whole joint would be pointless as you shouldn’t refreeze the leftovers.
What are good side dishes to go with gammon?
There are plenty of good side dishes to serve with gammon. Try honey-glazed carrots, roasted vegetables, potato salad, swede mash, or onion rings.