How Long Can You Keep Ham On The Bone In The Fridge?

Gary Evans
by Gary Evans

You know the holidays are fast approaching when you start seeing ham displayed in more stores. If you have the time, preparing homemade ham is well worth the effort. Ham is a terrific holiday treat, especially since any leftovers still remain tasty days later.

But how do you ensure that your leftover ham will retain its sumptuous flavor? Storing it in the refrigerator will help, but you shouldn’t keep it there for too long.

The type of ham you have will determine how long it can stay in your refrigerator. Homemade, uncured, and cooked ham on the bone can stay in the fridge for up to four days. Meanwhile, leftovers from store-bought bone-in ham can be stored in the refrigerator for one week.

Leftover ham works great in so many applications so make sure you store it properly. Learn more about how to properly handle any leftover ham by continuing with this article.

How Long Can You Store Ham on the Bone inside Your Fridge?

Bone-in ham can be the centerpiece of just about any holiday dinner table. It’s as much a feast for your eyes as it is for your stomach. Typically though, an entire bone-in ham cannot be completely finished in one sitting even by a large family. There will likely be plenty of leftovers to enjoy even days after the initial celebration.

Now, how much time do you actually have to enjoy those leftovers if you pop them in the refrigerator? The answer will depend on what type of bone-in ham you have. In many cases, people will either have whole, store-bought bone-in ham or homemade ham. Let’s discuss the storage time for homemade ham first.

Homemade bone-in ham that was not cured can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. If you took the time to cure the bone-in ham first, you can store its leftovers for about five days.

Store-bought hams tend to last longer. The leftovers from a typical store-bought bone-in ham can be safely kept in the refrigerator for a week. A whole country ham with the bone intact can also be stored in the fridge for the same amount of time.

If you decided to splurge by getting something like Parma or Serrano ham, you can enjoy that longer. Those specially prepared variants of bone-in ham can be safely stored in the fridge for up to three months.

Why Should You Keep Ham on the Bone When Storing It in the Fridge?

Let’s make it clear right now. There is no need to keep ham on the bone if you’re going to keep it in the refrigerator.

Depending on how many items you’re keeping inside the fridge, storing ham on the bone may not even be possible. Leftover desserts and other meats may also be taking up space inside the fridge after all.

The only reason why you should keep ham on the bone is due to flavor preservation. The parts of the ham that stay closer to the bone tend to remain tastier and juicier. Removing the bone means that all parts of the ham will be more susceptible to drying out.

How Do You Store Ham on the Bone inside the Fridge?

Storing ham on the bone will take a bit of work, but it is worth it. The first thing you must do is find a piece of cloth to cover the ham. A tea towel should work, but make sure it’s big enough to cover the entire ham.

Once you have the tea towel, you need to prep it. Pour two cups of white vinegar and about eight and a half cups of water into a container. Pass the tea towel through that liquid mixture and make sure it gets soaked pretty well.

Wring out the tea towel next and then let it air dry over a clean surface. Get the tea towel after it dries completely and start wrapping that over the ham. Try to wrap all of the ham, but you don’t have to make the cover too tight.

With the bone-in ham completely wrapped, go ahead and move it to the fridge. You now have leftovers to enjoy when you get that next craving for ham.

What Is Another Way of Storing Ham inside the Fridge?

Do you lack the space inside your refrigerator to accommodate the bone-in ham? You can still find a way to fit the ham in there, but you will have to remove the bone.

Get a clean carving knife and start slicing the ham. Make the slices as thin or thick as you prefer, but make sure they fit into your container of choice.

Speaking of containers, you can use either airtight containers or vacuum seal bags to store the ham. Consider portioning out the ham so you can keep equal amounts in the containers. That way, you can take one container from the fridge when you want a sandwich and leave the rest there.

What Can You Do with the Ham Bone?

If you decided to remove the meat, you will now have a big bone leftover. Don’t throw that bone out just yet though. That ham bone can serve as the base for a flavorful stock.

Take your stockpot out of storage and start to fill it with about four quarts of water. While waiting for the water to boil, you can prep some aromatic vegetables to flavor the stock. Ingredients commonly used for making stock include carrots, celery, onions, leeks, and herbs such as thyme and parsley.

As soon as the water boils, add the ham bone along with your aromatics. Don’t forget to season the stock with some salt as well. After simmering for some time, some fat may float to the top of the stockpot. Skim that away and allow the stock to continue cooking.

The stock will need to simmer for about three hours. To finish up, simply strain the stock and pour it into a container. You can now freeze that stock and take it out whenever you’re making soup and numerous other dishes.

Can You Freeze Your Leftover Ham?

Storing the ham inside the refrigerator is not your only option. To keep your leftover ham safe to eat for a long time, you can also look into freezing it.

Leftover ham can be stored in the freezer for an indefinite period of time. Letting too much time pass can affect the quality of the ham though. You may find its flavor to be lacking once it stays in the freezer for too long.

When it comes to storing ham in the freezer, you don’t want to go past four months. Ham frozen for more than four months will start to lose its flavor. It will still be edible, but it will lack the same kind of savory goodness ham is known for.

Prepping the ham for the freezer is very easy. Just slice the ham, keep it in airtight containers or vacuum seal bags, and pack those containers in the freezer.

How Can You Tell if the Ham Has Spoiled?

You can get very sick if you eat spoiled ham. In all likelihood, chowing down on spoiled ham will cause you to face an unpleasant bout of food poisoning.

Avoid eating ham that has gone bad by keeping an eye out for the signs of spoilage. The same signs of spoilage that show up in other kinds of meat will also emerge in ham.

For instance, you may notice that the flesh of the ham is starting to change color. Instead of being slightly pink, it may start to turn gray. That is not a good sign. The texture of the ham may also change. You may find a layer of slime covering the ham once it starts to turn.

Lastly, the smell of the ham will change if it’s in the process of spoiling. The familiar smell of ham will be replaced by a sour and pungent odor that will be offensive to your senses.

As soon as any of those signs start to emerge, go ahead and dispose of the ham. Nothing good can come out of using that spoiled meat.

Related Questions

How Long Can You Store Pre-Sliced and Canned Ham in the Refrigerator?

If you purchased pre-sliced ham from the store, you can only keep it in your fridge for a few days. To be more specific, pre-sliced ham can only be stored in the fridge for about three days.Leftover canned ham does not feature a very long shelf life as well. Once the can has been opened, the ham inside will only last for about four days inside the refrigerator.

What Can You Do with Your Leftover Ham?

There’s nothing wrong with a hearty sandwich made from leftover ham. However, you can do so much more with what you have in your refrigerator.For breakfast, you can slice up the ham and put it in an omelet. Dice more leftover ham and use it to make fried rice. You can also put ham in some pastry along with cheese and some veggies to create some delectable pastries.Leftover ham can also be used in soups, casseroles, and so many other dishes. Experiment with your leftover ham and see which preparations you like most.

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Gary Evans
Gary Evans

Gary Evans is passionate about home improvement. He loves finding out how to make improvements in the easiest, most practical, and most affordable ways. Upgrading his home kitchen is one of his ongoing hobbies. Gary is also a long-time content creator and enjoys spending his free time tending to his hydroponic vegetable garden.

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