You’ve stocked increase on lunch meat ham, or bought a large whole ham. Currently that friend think about, it’s a bit too much. Exactly how long walk ham jast?

Or you’ve purchase a cured ham that you need to cook at house for a special occasion. ~ cooking, the meat turned out super tasty, however you’re quite sure girlfriend won’t have the ability to eat every one of it within a couple of days.

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That made you start thinking about freezing the leftovers, however you’re not sure how well ham freezes.

Either way, this post is for you if friend have any questions or doubts regarding:

storageshelf lifeor going negative of ham

Below, we talk about deli meat ham, whole ham, and even touch top top canned ham. We’ve obtained you covered, no matter what’s her preference.

Whole ham

How to store Ham

When it concerns storing ham, there space basically 2 options: the fridge and also the freezer.


I know there space some specialty assets like nation ham the are sometimes sold unrefrigerated and also keep fine at room temperature, however the vast bulk of ham commodities require refrigeration.

No matter what form of ham you’re handle with, if it’s cured or not, cooking or not, or sliced or not, the same couple of basic accuse apply.

First and also foremost, keep the meat well wrapped at every times. Packaged ham is normally vacuum sealed, or at the very least strictly sealed in a pack. And even if girlfriend buy sliced lunch meat in ~ the deli counter, it generally comes appropriately wrapped too.

Ham in a plastic resealable bag
Once you open the package, if friend can’t seal the easily, consider carrying the ham in an airtight container or a freezer bag. Those save the moisture and also smell inside, and prevent the ham from picking up any smells indigenous the fridge.

If no is an option, aluminum foil or plastic wrap have the right to work too.


For the meat to last the longest, keep it in the far edge of the fridge and also return that there right after cut as much as girlfriend need.

Ham slices
When it involves canned ham offered unrefrigerated, room temperature is perfectly fine for it. A cool location in a pantry or kitchen is perfect for storing the tins.

Once you open up the can, store any type of leftovers in the fridge. Make sure they’re well covered, so the smell won’t leak right into the totality fridge and also the meat won’t dried out.

If possible, deliver the leftover ham to a small airtight container or placed the tin in a freezer bag.

Just cook ham, notification how wet it still is

Can You freeze Ham?

If you want to save your ham because that a an extensive period, freezing functions really well (just as it does for pulled pork). Plus it requires very little extra work, for this reason there space no sorry for no freezing ham.

If her ham requires any kind of processing before eating (e.g., it’s uncooked and also requires cooking), take care of that prior to freezing.

This way, her thawed ham will certainly be all set to eat, and also you won’t have to worry about anything later on on. To add freezing can slightly alter the structure of the meat, for this reason a frozen and thawed ham most likely won’t rotate out as great after cooking.

The next step is come think about the portions. If you have a whole big ham top top hand, it’s much better to divide it right into a couple of smaller parts, so each one is sufficient for a few days. This way, girlfriend make certain it won’t go bad.


If you’re using ham largely for your sandwiches, think about slicing it before freezing. This means it’s ready to go best after defrosting. If you’ve purchase a large batch the sliced ham in ~ the deli, divide it right into several smaller sized ones too.

Squeeze out excess water from cooked ham. Otherwise, you’ll end up with something like this after freezing.
When it comes to how to freeze ham, freezer bags usually job-related best, together they don’t take together much space as containers.

If you expect to store the ham frozen for much longer than a few weeks, take into consideration wrapping the part with aluminum foil prior to putting it into the bag. An extra layer of protection versus cold waiting is valuable for lengthy freezing. If the ham is still unopened, no need for additional protection, together the original packaging will do just fine.

In short, all you must do is to safeguard the ham from the cold temperature and also drying out, and that’s around it.

As usual, thaw the overnight in the fridge.

Thawing frozen ham: placed it this method in the fridge, and it’ll thaw overnight

How long Does Ham Last

The warehouse time is slightly different for each type of ham, relying on how it to be prepared. But since those durations are fairly similar, ns won’t cover lock one by one and instead talk about general guidelines.

If the ham is vacuum sealed, it usually retains top quality for about 2 weeks. And pretty much constantly comes through a use-by day on the label. While the ham must keep unopened for a couple of days previous that date, that’s around it.


There space exceptions to the 2 mainly rule, like, e.g., Prosciutto that often lasts because that over 2 months, however there are only a couple of them.

Once you open up the package, or if the ham comes opened (e.g., sliced in ~ the deli counter), that lasts around 3 come 5 days. Same thing for thawed meat.

When it comes to canned ham, it comes through a best-by date, and also can quickly retain high quality for a couple of weeks past that date. As soon as you open the tin, eat the ham in ~ 3 to 5 days.

Ham (vacuum-sealed, unopened)Use-by + 2 – 4 days
Ham (opened)3 – 5 days
Ham (thawed)3 – 5 days
Canned ham (sold unrefrigerated, unopened)Best-by + 1 month
Canned ham (sold unrefrigerated, opened)3 – 5 days
Please keep in mind that all the periods above are approximates only.

How come Tell If Ham has Gone Bad

First off, check the dates. If you store fresh ham method past the day on the label or it’s opened for a long time, simply throw that out. Yes, even if it seems perfectly fine.

Then it’s time to check the top quality of the meat. If it’s slimy or started turning gray, throw it out. Same thing if that has developed an off odor.

If you notice that the odor of the ham isn’t quite right, even if ever before so slightly, it’s previous its prime, and you must discard it.

Last however not least, if the taste is off, throw it out.

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Slicing ham

About The Author

Marcin Skrzypiec
Marcin is the guy behind After ~ writing more than 300 articles on food storage, shelf life, and also spoilage, he"s learned a point or two on the topic.