Ham can be a delicious addition to any meal so what if you have cooked a joint and have lots leftover? In this article, we will be taking a look at what to do with leftover cooked ham.
Is it Possible to Freeze Cooked Ham?
You will be pleased to hear that it is possible to freeze cooked ham and it can last for up to three months in the freezer. However, beware. Don’t put a can of cooked ham in your freezer. The ham could expand and burst the can. You really don’t want to clear up that mess in your freezer. Anyway, why would you want to freeze ham that comes in a can? A can of ham has a long shelf life and it isn’t that big. You would probably use it within the week you can keep the leftovers in the fridge. If you are buying cooked ham, check the use-by date as you don’t want to freeze ham which is way past that date. However, if you have cooked ham for your dinner, it is easy to freeze the leftovers.
Freezing ham that you have cooked is a great way to preserve it for future occasions. The ham will still have all the nutrients it had before it was frozen. The taste and texture will also remain the same. It can become a little watery when defrosted, but if you slice it before putting it in the freezer, it will retain its consistency better.
The Way to Freeze Cooked Ham
These are the steps to follow if you want to freeze ham (see also article on freezing gammon). .
- Slice the cooked ham into whatever you feel appropriate for your recipe. If you do this, you will just be able to toss the slices into the dish.
- Put the ham into a freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible. If you don’t, freezer burn might occur and while this isn’t detrimental to your health, it can ruin the taste and texture of your meat. If you have a food saver, all the better. This vacuum seals your meat and keeps it for longer.
- It is a good idea to put a label on the bag saying when you put it in the freezer. It is all too easy to forget when you put something in the freezer, especially when you freeze a lot of items. If you are freezing shop-bought ham remember to check the date before freezing. If it has passed the use-by date, it won’t be edible after freezing.
- Put the ham in the freezer. Stack the bags on top of each other as this saves space in the freezer.
Thawing Frozen Cooked Ham
The best way to thaw frozen cooked ham is to put it in the fridge and leave it overnight. That will help to retain its texture. However, if you intend to use it in a recipe such as soup or a casserole, you can just add it straight into the dish. Remember to cook the dish for a little longer to ensure that the ham is fully cooked.
If you don’t use all of the ham, put it in the fridge, but it will only keep for up to seven days. It is better to freeze how much you need for one meal in one bag. There’s nothing wrong with freezing a number of bags and then taking out one when you need it.
It is important that you don’t refreeze thawed frozen ham. If you do, bacteria could form and you could get food poisoning.
Recipes with Cooked Ham
You could add the cooked ham to a soup with sweetcorn and potatoes. Another good choice is to put it into a spaghetti (see also Can You Freeze Spaghetti) carbonara. Make a ham hash brown breakfast with fried eggs. A delicious dish is ham and rice (see also Can You Freeze Uncooked Rice). Mix the rice with garlic powder and fry in olive oil. Add the ham, sweetcorn, peas, and an egg. If you like soy sauce, add this at the end. You could also simply add the ham to a toasted cheese and ham sandwich. The options are endless.