The shelf life of food is something to take seriously. Eating food once it has passed a certain date can be quite bad for your health and can lead to illnesses such as food poisoning. Even something as simple as a honey-baked ham should be stored properly and not be kept for any longer than is safe.
Table of Contents
- What is Honey-Baked Ham?
- Honey-Baked Ham Shelf Life
- How to tell if Honey-Baked Ham is Safe to Eat
- How long does honeybaked ham last? – FAQs
What is Honey-Baked Ham?
Honey-baked ham is a delicious cut of meat, similar to a ham hock, that has been glazed and baked with honey. It has a great crispy outer layer that is predominantly honey with a nice meaty inside. The saltiness of the ham goes incredibly well with the sweetness of the honey that is coating the meat.
Honey-baked ham can come in many different forms when buying it from the supermarket. It is not uncommon to find unsmoked, smoked and cured versions of this meat. All of these will have different shelf lives as it has altered the moisture content of the food. Anything that alters this will have a direct impact on the longevity of the food, therefore increasing its shelf life.
To keep things incredibly simple, this article will be related to ham that you bought fresh and cooked/baked at home. Ham that is smoked or cured will last significantly longer and should also be properly researched as a separate topic.
While it may seem weird to pair honey and meat together, it is actually done very often and is a seriously delicious combo. Honey can be paired with so many other meats, not just ham. One of the best pairings for honey is the delicious honey gold chicken wings.
Honey-Baked Ham Shelf Life
The shelf life of honey-baked ham is quite good as it is similar to most other meats. As mentioned, cured and smoked version of ham will last longer. However, ordinary honey-baked ham still has a very good shelf life.
How Long Does Honey-Baked Ham last in the Fridge?
After cooking your honey-baked ham, you might not have finished it all. This is fine, it’s a lot of ham.
If you are wanting to avoid wasting the rest, you can store it in the fridge on a plate for up to 5 days. It still tastes great even when cold and can easily be sliced and placed back in the fridge.
While 5 days may not seem like much time, it should be more than enough time for you to find an excuse to finish off the rest of your ham. It might still be safe to eat after the 5 days have passed although this is not a guarantee so it is more down to your own judgment after this.
How long does Honey-Baked Ham last in the freezer?
If the 5 days of extra shelf life provided by the fridge is not enough, you may be inclined to freeze your ham. This can be an absolute game changer for those of us who are looking to prevent food waste.
Once frozen, the ham will last for up to 3 months before it will start to decrease in quality and is no longer recommended to be eaten. Thawing the ham and then refreezing it again is also frowned upon so a brilliant idea is to portion the ham before freezing it and store it in individual portions. This way, you can thaw portions and only have what you need instead of thawing the entire ham at once.
How long does Honey-Baked Ham last at Room Temperature?
Storing anything at room temperature is always quite annoying as it is the best condition for bacteria to breed on the food. Anything with high moisture content is very prone to going bad quite quickly if left out at room temperature.
Honey-baked ham is no exception. It can be left at room temperature for up to 2 hours until it is no longer deemed safe to eat. This is because all of the bacteria will breed and grow within those two hours until they are at an unhealthy level. Consuming bacteria is unavoidable but when they reach that level in numbers, it is highly recommended against.
How to tell if Honey-Baked Ham is Safe to Eat
Knowing how to safely store and preserve food is a very good skill to have. Yet knowing how to tell when food is bad is potentially life-saving. It can be quite difficult to tell from a quick glance if your food is safe to eat or not.
Learning this is invaluable.
With honey-baked ham, the first thing you want to check is the smell. Naturally, this is going to smell sweet. Unless you are smelling the direct middle, as this will smell meaty and salty. If you can sense any odor that is unpleasant, pungent, or rancid, then you should discard the ham. When there is a build-up of bacteria, it produces a terrible smell. If you can smell this, that means the bacteria has gotten to a large enough quantity that it is no longer safe to eat.
Other than the smell, the other most useful sense for this task is your eyesight. Similar to how a lot of bacteria can cause an odor, it will also be visibly noticeable. Any specks of mold on your ham should be an instant warning for you to throw it away. You cannot just simply cut off the bit with mold on it and eat the rest. If there is mold anywhere on the ham you have to throw it all away.
Finally, while it may seem like a dangerous way to test if your food is bad or not, taste your food. If you cannot identify any bad smells or visible warnings, try a small piece of your ham. See if it tastes as it should. If it tastes perfectly fine and the texture is not any different, then your ham should be safe to eat. However, if your food tastes and feels different then it may be a sign that it has spoiled.
How long does honeybaked ham last? – FAQs
If you are wanting to buy a honey-baked ham in advance so that it is less stressful on the day of cooking and serving it, you will want to be careful with the timing as it would be a shame to have the ham spoil before you even get around to cooking it. A lot of people tend to buy their ham 3 days before they plan on using it as this gives them plenty of time to prepare without having to go and buy a ham last minute.
The best way to tell if your ham is bad or not is by smelling it. When bacteria breed and grow, it starts to produce a horrible smell. This will be incredibly noticeable as the only other scents of ham are sweet honey and salty meat. This horrible smell is a telltale sign that your ham has gone bad.
Storing a honey-baked ham is very easy if you know how to do it. After cooking it, it can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days and be snacked on. After this, if you still aren’t quite ready to say goodbye, I recommend slicing it, wrapping the individual slices in plastic wrap, and freezing them. These slices will then last for up to three months.
If your honey-baked ham is raw when initially frozen, thawed, cooked, and then refrozen – there is no issue. However, if you were to freeze your cooked ham, thaw it, and then try to freeze it again – this would be dangerous. Food can spoil very quickly if it is thawed and frozen multiple times. It is best to only freeze cooked food once.