Did you just cook a larger amount of honey-baked ham and don’t know how to store it for longer? Can you freeze it? Will it change its texture and flavor after you defrost the honey-baked ham? Let’s find out!
The more dishes you learn to cook, the more questions can appear. The one that troubles most cooks is how to store leftovers. The tricky part is that you should pay attention to all the ingredients when you plan to freeze. If you use at least one ingredient that does not freeze well, it may ruin or shorten the freezing period for the entire dish.
How to Freeze?
When you have cooked a perfect honey-baked ham, there can appear lots of questions about how to freeze it properly. There can be different ways to freeze a honey-baked ham. Let’s find out the best ways of how to freeze it properly.
Needed Items for Freezing:
Use a Vacuum Machine
The best way to store the honey-baked ham is to seal it with a vacuum machine. As there will be minimum air excesses, the honey-baked ham will last for longer and with fewer risks that the bacteria will grow on the ham.
Use Air-Tight Containers or Freezing Bags
If you don’t have a vacuum machine under your hands, you can use freezing-friendly air-tight containers or freezing bags.
Quick Note: In case of the freezing bags, make sure that before sealing them, you will squeeze all the air excesses as you can.
If you plan to keep it for a longer time, I will recommend dividing the honey-baked ham into servings (whole or slices) and to put into different air-tight containers (or freezing bags) as you need to minimize the contact with the air.
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If you take it out of the fridge and put it back a few times in honey-baked ham there may be a high risk that bacteria will grow on it.
By separating the honey-baked ham into different containers or freezing bags you won’t need to refreeze it several times. When you decide to eat some baked ham, you can just choose a small portion you need. The rest will be stored in the freezer without getting in contact with the air.
Quick Note: All the chefs advise storing meat at the temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit and lower. That is the safest way to store any kind of meat, including honey-baked ham.
Ham is a kind of meat that is well-suited for freezing. Even a honey-baked ham is a good product that can be wonderfully stored in the fridge. You will see and feel no difference if you take a piece of honey-baked ham from the freezer.
Can You Refreeze It?
Frankly speaking, it is not forbidden. At the same time, there are some facts that every cook must know. If you froze a honey-baked ham beforehand and took it for eating, remember the following thing.
Don’t let it lay in the kitchen, defrosted for more than two hours. It is the same situation with any kind of meat. Even if the kitchen is perfectly clean, bacteria will influence meat anyway. They are everywhere, even in the air.
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So, the air influence can also kill a safe piece of honey-baked ham.
Pro Tip: Make sure that you will stick a freezing label on the containers or freezing bags. Write down the date you freeze them and up to 2-3 months from now as the expiration date.
Freezing Unopened Whole Ham
When you plan to freeze unopened store-bought honey-baked ham, make sure that it wasn’t in direct sunlight or it wasn’t on the table for more than 2 hours at room temperature.
If it was properly stored, just put the whole, unopened ham in the freezer and keep it for up to 2-3 months.
Does It Freeze Well?
Yes, as long as it was properly frozen and most important – properly defrosted as if you will force the thawing process, the ice crystals will break the texture of the ham and will not get the same texture as before freezing.
How Long Can It Be Stored?
In the Freezer
The safe period for keeping a honey-baked ham in the freezer is about 2 months after it has been cooked. Sometimes, you can see in the stores or supermarkets already cooked honey-baked ham.
If you bought this one, it is recommended to eat it within 5 days after the package has been opened.
Yet, all these limits are rather conventional. No one can prevent you from keeping it in the freezer for a longer time. One can keep a honey-baked ham in the freezer for about 3-6 months.
The only recommendation here is to mind the right temperature in the camera of lower than 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
The next piece of advice is how to put it. Don’t place the whole package close to the camera walls. It can be burnt by cold. It is better to leave some space between a honey-baked ham and the walls of the freezer.
In the Refrigerator
If it wasn’t sitting previously for a long time on the countertop at room temperature, if the honey-baked ham was stored in an air-tight container, then you keep it safe for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
If it is unopened and in a sealed vacuum bag, it should be good to eat in up to 2 weeks.
How to Defrost It?
Generally, there can be two ways how to defrost the honey-baked ham:
- Using a refrigerator;
- Using cold water.
- Using Microwave Oven
In the Refrigerator
The easiest and safest way to defrost any product is to remove it from the freezer and leave it overnight in the fridge. By leaving the honey-baked ham to thaw slowly in the fridge, the ice crystal will not break the texture of the ham.
The advantage of this means that the process is being done gradually.
It will need about 5-6 hours per pound to refrigerate the honey-baked ham in the fridge.
If you freeze the ham in a vacuum bag or zip-lock bags you can defrost the honey-baked ham under cold water.
If a honey-baked ham is perfectly vacuumed, you can take a bowl and fill it with water. Mind that it is better to use cold water. If you are going to use hot water, your dish can start to boil and the bacteria will start forming in just minutes.
So, put a honey-baked ham in a bowl with cold water. With an interval of 30 minutes, change the water in the bowl. So, these ways of defrosting a honey-baked ham can be really helpful for any meat-lover.
Yes, this method will shorten the thawing time of the frozen ham but it will require more attention from you as you need to change the water.
In the Microwave
If you need to defrost a small amount of frozen ham, especially if it is sliced, you may consider thawing it in the microwave oven using the defrosting function.
Attention: If you use a microwave oven for defrosting ham, it is better to eat the whole portions. It is not a good idea to refreeze it after it has been warmed up in the microwave or under hot air.
Quick Note: Don’t thaw the frozen ham in the microwave if it contains bones.
Is It Safe to Eat a Defrosted Honey-Baked Ham?
Yes, absolutely. Don’t be afraid. If you did everything as we advised – you should be fine and you will not lose too much from the original texture and taste.
The only restriction here is not to refreeze the dish. It can lose its texture and flavor, and more importantly, it can grow fast bacteria on the ham.
If you divide the honey-baked ham into servings and freeze it into small portions using a vacuum machine, air-tight containers, or freezing bags you should get a nice tasting and great texture of the honey ham even after defrosting. Just keep in mind that the longer the thawing time will be – the more original texture of the honey-baked ham you will keep after it will be defrosted.
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