Most people associate ham with the holidays; however, it is so much more than that.
Therefore, you should stock up on ham when they are on sale and keep them in your freezer.
However, before you drive to the grocery store to purchase your ham, you should know how to thaw it the right way.
How To Store Ham
Storing ham is an essential step in the defrosting process. On average, a cooked or uncooked ham can be stored in the fridge for a few days at 40°F.
The ham should be wrapped tightly to prevent the meat from being exposed to oxygen. If the ham is exposed to oxygen, it will dry out.
If the ham packaging is compromised or open, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap or foil and place it into a leak-proof bag or an airtight container.
Store the ham at the back of the refrigerator, where it will be kept at the appropriate temperature.
If you are not going to use your ham right away, it should be frozen to prevent it from spoiling.
Although you will avoid spoilage by freezing the ham, freezing it may change its texture and flavor. This is especially true for fresh hams.
Whether you are using a fresh or store bought ham, freeze it as soon as possible to preserve its quality.
Leave the ham in its original packaging. If the packaging is damaged, remove the ham and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap.
It is best to double wrap the ham to prevent it from drying out while it’s stored in the freezer.
Place the ham into an extra-large freezer-safe resealable bag and place it into the freezer.
There’s nothing worse than craving ham and ending up sick after consuming it because you had no idea it was spoiled.
Make sure you write the date on the ham to eliminate any confusion about when the ham was frozen.
Can I Refreeze Defrosted Ham?
Plans change. You may not be able to cook your ham when you intended to.
Luckily, you can store your ham in the fridge for 3 days after it has been defrosted in the refrigerator.
You cannot refreeze ham if it has been thawed in the microwave or thawed in cold water.
Can I Defrost Ham in Warm Water?
Do not under any circumstance thaw ham in warm water.
Thawing ham in warm water will raise it above 40°F and put it into the temperature danger zone.
Ultimately, warm water will increase the risk of bacteria, leading to food poisoning.
Warm water will also cause the ham to thaw unevenly.
Is Defrosting Ham Really Necessary?
In the same way, you can cook steak from frozen; you can cook a ham in its frozen state.
The ham will taste the same as it was cooked thawed.
However, it is worth noting that the ham will take 50% longer to cook than if it were thawed.
How To Defrost Sliced Ham?
If you’ve managed to come by sliced ham, you can store them in a ziplock bag in the freezer.
To thaw your sliced ham, remove it from the freezer and place it into a pot of cold water.
If your sliced ham is still in its original packaging, place it into a resealable ziplock bag and remove the excess air from the ham of it before sealing it.
Allow the ham to thaw in cold water for 30 minutes.
How To Defrost Ham
Defrosting ham is as easy as steak or bacon. These methods will help you defrost ham the right way.
How To Defrost Ham in the Refrigerator
Defrosting ham in the refrigerator is the safest and fuss-free method. The only drawback of defrosting ham in the fridge is that it takes forever.
To thaw your ham in the refrigerator, place it into a deep-rimmed container that is bigger than the ham.
The pan will collect the ham’s juices that spill out as it defrosts.
Because you are defrosting the ham in the refrigerator, removing it from its original packaging is unnecessary.
If you remove the ham from its packaging, it will stink up your fridge like fish leaves a bad smell in your microwave.
Place your ham into the fridge and let it thaw. On average, it will take 4 hours for every pound of ham to defrost.
For example, if you have an 18-pound ham, it will take 4-5 days for your ham t defrost. However, if you have a 12-pound ham, it will take 3 days to defrost. If you are defrosting ham slices, it will take 12-24 hours to defrost.
A raw ham will last in the fridge for 1 day after it is defrosted, while a cooked ham will last for 3 days in the refrigerator after it’s defrosted.
To determine whether or not your ham is completely thawed, remove it from the refrigerator.
Cut the ham with a carving knife. If the blade cuts through the ham without any resistance, it is defrosted.
If the ham is hard to cut, it is not thawed. Return the ham to the fridge and let it thaw for 2-12 hours.
Additionally, if your ham has a bone, you can save it and make stock with it.
How To Defrost Ham Using Cold Water
Defrosting ham in cold water will require more effort, but it is undoubtedly faster than the refrigerator.
To defrost ham in cold water, remove it from its original packaging.
Place the ham into a large plastic bag that is big enough to cover the ham.
Remove the excess air from the ham, seal it, and place the ham into a large pot filled with cold water. Do not thaw ham in warm water.
If the ham starts to float to the top of the pot, place a heavy plate on it.
If you are thawing sliced ham, you can thaw it in its original packaging if it is airtight.
Let the ham thaw for 30 minutes per pound. Sliced ham will thaw in 1-2 hours.
Do not allow your ham’s exterior to rise above 40 °F.
Bacteria will develop if the water rises above this temperature.
You can add a few ice cubes to the water to ensure it does not rise above the recommended temperature.
Even if you add ice to the water, you will still need to change it every 30 minutes.
Drain the water from the ham and fill it back up with cold water.
To test the ham to see if it is defrosted, carve a few slices of ham, if there is no resistance, the ham thawed.
If the ham is not thawed, place it back into the bag and thaw it for another 1-2 minutes.
Do not forget to change the defrosting water every 30 minutes.
Cook your ham as soon as it has been thawed. If you are thawing cooked ham, you can eat it as is.
How To Defrost Ham in the Microwave
When thawing ham in the microwave, you should proceed with caution.
Although the microwave is the fastest way to defrost ham, it is not the best way to defrost food.
In fact, some people would consider the microwave the worst way to defrost ham.
If your ham is raw, you could cook some parts of the ham while others remain frozen, which could lead to food poisoning.
If you are reheating cooked ham, it could reheat unevenly and also lead to food poisoning.
If your ham has glaze or seasoning, the microwave will also heat it differently from the hams interior.
If the glaze contains sugar, it can burn, and no one likes burnt ham.
In addition to this, the microwave will only work if your microwave is big enough to thaw your ham. Most medium and large hams will not fit in a conventional microwave.
The microwave method works best for ham slices.
Remove the frozen ham from its original packaging and place your ham into a large microwave-safe dish. Glass or unpainted ceramic dishes are best for thawing ham in the microwave.
If there are 3 wavy lines on the bottom of your container, it is a microwave-safe dish.
If there are no lines on the bottom of the dish, do not thaw the ham in it.
The plastic could melt, and chemicals could leech into your ham.
In addition to this, check the bottom of your bowl to ensure it does not have any holes.
If the microwave dish has a hole, the ham’s juices will spill all over your microwave.
Furthermore, the ham’s juices will leave a scent in your microwave for weeks and even months, no matter how much you clean it.
Place your ham into the microwave and set it to defrost. If your microwave does not have a defrost function, it’s best to heat the ham on its lowest setting.
Check the ham in 10-15 minute intervals to see if it is thawing. Smaller hams will thaw in 15 minutes. However, bigger hams can take up to 45 minutes.
If it is soft enough, you can use a sharp knife to cut the ham. If the blade glides through the ham, it is thawed.
If the ham is not thawed, continue heating it, checking it every 10-15 minutes until defrosted.
Most hams you come across in the grocery store will not be frozen.
However, if you find a deal on hams, don’t be afraid to stockpile them in your freezer.
Know that you know how to thaw ham; you can eat it year-round if you desire.
You might also be interested in:
- How To Defrost and Thaw Ground Beef
- How To Defrost and Thaw Pork Chops
- How To Defrost and Thaw Sausages
- How To Defrost and Thaw Bacon
- How To Defrost and Thaw Salmon
- How To Defrost and Thaw Fish
- How To Defrost and Thaw Lobster Tails
- How To Defrost and Thaw Shrimp
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.