When It Is And Isn't Safe To Refreeze Ham

Preparing a large ham can be an excellent way to create some leftovers for the week, but even then, a big spiral ham may be more than your family can consume quickly enough before it goes bad. Food Network shares you should consume leftovers stored in the fridge within five days. Most often, cooked and fully cured spiral hams will last for up to a week in the fridge if stored properly. If that's not enough time, consider freezing it. This could be the perfect way to enjoy sandwiches next week, or perhaps add chunks to a long-cooked soup next month.

There's often discussion about whether it's safe to refreeze cooked meats. Most often, the concern here isn't related to food safety itself, but rather to the way the cold temperatures impact the texture and quality of the product. To freeze anything that's cooked, be sure that you've followed all food safety standards (such as keeping it at a safe temperature while thawing). You also want to be sure you've cooked all raw, fresh ham as well as ready-to-eat hams to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit, as noted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There are some limitations and expectations for refreezing ham to keep in mind before you move forward.

How to refreeze ham

You can freeze ham after it's been prepared, but aim to do so within three days, shares The Spruce Eats. That not only helps to minimize any food safety concerns, but may also help with maintaining the proper texture. The key difference you may see is in the texture of the ham once you take it out of the freezer to use again. As the frozen ham defrosts, it will lose a significant amount of moisture, which will likely cause it to dry out a bit.

You'll also need to be careful of a few common mistakes. Don't freeze ham that sat on the counter for too long. Limit the time the meat is not refrigerated after being cooked to no more than two hours to minimize food-borne illness, as noted by Texas Health and Human Services. Also be sure to package the meat properly for the freezer to minimize the risk of freezer burn, which will further dry it out. Tightly packed meat may maintain more of that all-important moisture. Taking these steps, your ham should be safe to refreeze and enjoy a second time.