Honey-baked ham is a traditional holiday food for good reasons. It tastes fantastic, and it is perfect for leftovers. But with so much food being thrown away after major holidays, is honey-baked ham a worthwhile investment, or should you choose a different cold cut?
Thankfully there is no shortage of cold cuts, so how do you make the best of your honey-baked ham after a holiday, and will it be ok in the fridge?
In this article, you will get answers to frequently asked questions that may save you a fortune and prevent you from coming down with food poisoning.
You may be surprised to read that the answer to how long you can store leftover ham is not a simple process. Why? It depends on how the ham has been cooked and how it has been stored.
Get any of these processes wrong, and you could be in a world of pain and regret that you didn’t pay more attention to food hygiene preparation standards laid out by the USDA.
Let’s get into it.
How long will Honeybaked Ham keep in the fridge?
A general consensus suggests that honey-baked ham will last for five days in the fridge and can then be frozen if you have sufficient meat left over.
Now the odd thing is that you would expect cured ham (which is honey-baked ham) to last longer than regular uncured ham, and you would be right in your thoughts.
Honey-baked ham can last as a cured ham for two weeks in the fridge and then be frozen.
However, there is a lot of conflicting information about the duration honey baked ham can stay in the fridge, so be on the safe side and go with five days like regular uncured ham.
Honey-baked cured ham can be frozen for six weeks and then der]frosted and eaten within two days.
How long can you eat leftover honey-baked ham?
As tempting as it may be, you should stick to the USDA guidelines for storing honey-baked ham. It is OK to have a ham sandwich within the first five days of being in the fridge, but after that, it is in the freezer for six weeks.
Of course, if you have an enormously honey-baked ham to freeze, cut it into slices and portions so you can pull the ham from the freezer and enjoy it anytime within the six weeks.
How long does sliced ham last in the fridge?
If you have decided to slice your honey-baked ham and refrigerate it, you may be missing a trick. The ham will have the same 5-day shelf life in the fridge, but it may start dehydrating, changing the composition of the ham’s taste and texture.
However, portion sliced ham and place into zip lock bags before freezing makes a lot of sense. You can defrost what you need and keep the other ham in good condition.
How do you defrost honey-baked ham?
The best way is to place the honey-baked ham in the refrigerator to defrost slowly. If you use a time of four to six hours per pound of honey-baked ham, the ham will be defrosted perfectly.
This means if you are defrosting, an average-size ham that you may have purchased for the holidays will take around 36 hours to defrost thoroughly in the fridge.
Do you serve HoneyBaked Ham cold?
Honey-baked ham is a beautiful culinary experience when it’s served cold with salad and pickles.
Warm honey-baked ham is not required, but if you have a family who prefers the ham, you can cut a few slices and place it in an oven of 135℉ until warmed through.
How is Honeybaked Ham made?
It’s a secret! It may sound like a joke, but no one knows the ingredients in honey roast ham. It is coated with honey, that’s for sure, and it is cooked with a unique mixture of hardwood chips to give it the signature smoky taste that millions of Americans adore.
Does anyone know what’s in the glaze? Nope, you got it, and it’s a secret.
What is the difference between cured and uncured ham?
Cured meats have preservatives, chemicals, and special smoking techniques to drive out bacteria and keep a stable shelf life.
Uncured ham uses salt in the process, and that’s about it; it is unadulterated ham.
How long is Honeybaked ham good after purchase?
If you have stirred the honey-baked ham correctly, it’s suitable for six weeks in the freezer and five days in the fridge.
If you want to keep your honey-baked ham in good condition, it is not recommended to use slices. Slicing the ham and leaving it either refrigerated or frozen will dehydrate the ham.
How do you heat up a precooked honey-baked ham?
When you buy your honey-baked ham, it’s cooked to perfection and good to eat, and it tastes incredible when it is cold and is perfect for the holiday. However, you can heat the honey-baked ham if you wish.
The best way to reheat the ham is low and slow. Heat the oven, so the internal temp is 135℉ (your ham has already been precooked to 150℉). Place on a tray and heat through slowly.
Remember, it’s a reheating process and not cooking.
Can you eat honey-baked ham after the expiration date?
There are so many times that you can be tempted to just get the last meal out of a honey-baked ham when it’s expired but don’t do it.
It may look fine and taste fine, but that doesn’t mean it is okay. Bacterial multiply rapidly on meat, and you can go from an acceptable bacteria level to a bloom of bacteria that makes the honey-baked ham a ticking time bomb should it be consumed.
Sometimes, the honey-baked ham may have an odor or a sour taste. If this is your ham and it’s passed the expiry date, throw it out.
Can you eat the honey-baked ham from the freezer if it’s expired?
No, the ham has expired and already started to degrade, and it is not safe for consumption.
If you did proceed to eat the honey-baked ham when it expired, you are running the risk of becoming seriously ill.
How long does Spiral Ham last in the freezer?
If you have a spiral ham, it may be the product we have discussed thoroughly. A spiral cut is a signature cut of honey-baked ham.
That’s irrelevant. If the spiral ham is out of date, then it should be discarded. Your spiral ham has a refrigerator safety zone time ( if the fridge is 40℉ or below) of three to five days; from there, it can be frozen for up to six weeks.
How do you tell if Honey Baked Ham is spoiled?
There are many ways to tell if your honey-baked ham has spoiled from smell to its appearance.
If you don’t already know, ham is pink, and honey-baked ham is a rosy pink that is quite distinguishable. Other hams take on a beige tone from the outside, and the pink is pale when cut. This is normal.
If your ham is going bad, it’s straightforward to tell from yards away, your ham may be green and even black, and the stench will be something else, so hold your nose as it’s placed in the garbage.
What does spoiled ham smell like?
A lot will depend on the fat content of the ham, the fat will turn rancid and smell quite bad, but when the ham meat turns, it smells like sulfur, a nasty smell.
If your ham smells and the date says it’s okay, it’s not. Ham does not smell bad, and even uncured ham has a pleasant sweet smell that is not offensive.
When you buy your honey-baked ham, open it before your holiday event and take a big nose full of the aroma. If it’s off, you will know and have a chance to return it to the store or make alternative arrangements for food.
It is fair to say honey-baked cured ham will smell different from uncured ham, but both will smell pleasant.
Do all hams have different storage requirements?
Yes and no, there are guidelines for storing hams in the fridge and freezer from USDA, but here is a chart that will help you to select your ham and understand the storage requirements:
|Type of Ham||RefrigeratorStorage||FreezerStorage|
|Ham, Cook-before eating – Uncooked||5 – 7 days or”Use By” date||3 – 4 months|
|Ham, Cook-before eating – Cooked by consumer||3 – 5 days||1 – 2 months|
|Ham, Fully Cooked – Vacuum sealed at plant -Undated, Unopened||2 weeks||1 – 2 months|
|Ham, Fully Cooked – Vacuum sealed at plant -“Use By” date, Unopened||“Use By” date||1 – 2 months|
|Ham, Fully Cooked – Vacuum sealed at plant -“Sell By” date, unopened||3 days after”Sell By” date||1 – 2 months|
|Ham, Fully Cooked – Vacuum sealed at plant -Undated, Opened||3 – 5 days||1 – 2 months|
|Ham, Fully Cooked – Store wrapped – Whole ham||7 days||1 – 2 months|
|Ham, Fully Cooked – Store wrapped – Half ham||3 – 5 days||1 – 2 months|
|Ham, Fully Cooked – Store wrapped – Ham Slices||3 – 5 days||1 – 2 months|
|Country Ham, Uncooked – Whole, UncutStored at room temperature.||1 year|
|Country Ham, Uncooked – Cut||2 – 3 months||1-month|
With holidays throughout the year, honey-baked ham is a popular choice for many reasons. It’s attractive on the table, and it tastes terrific.
It is reasonably priced and has become a tradition for many families to use honey-baked ham, and the best part is it is already cooked and ready to go.
However, dealing with pork products has always been notoriously risky to stretch the limits of the product.
If you have a honey-baked ham that smells slightly bad, it is bad and should be discarded immediately.
Be smart about freezing honey bnaked ham. If you have leftovers, place them in portions that you can use easily over the next six weeks of freezing.