Smoked ham, which is a piece of meat that is taken from a pig’s leg, is traditionally cured and eaten during the winter months. However, due to its delicious flavor, smoked ham has made its way into many other types of dishes, including some that are often eaten on a daily basis.
In addition to this, it may be had during a variety of other meals, including breakfast, brunch, and even supper.
Although smoked ham may be purchased at a wide variety of retail food establishments, an increasing number of consumers are learning to manufacture their own smoked ham at home using commercial smokers.
As someone who processes ham (and other types of meat) rather often and has a lot of experience doing it, I can assure you that the procedure is not difficult.
The most difficult part of the process, on the other hand, occurs after you have already smoked quite a lot of ham but there is still a lot of it remaining.
The question now is, what do you do when you have more than you can do in a single sitting?
Because of this, you need to be aware of the precautions you need to take to prevent your smoked ham from spoiling.
So, how long can you keep smoked ham before it starts to get rancid? A further in-depth analysis of the same may be found here.
What is Smoked Ham?
The leg of a pig is used to get a particular cut of meat known as smoked ham.
The term “smoking” refers to the method that is used to cook it, as the name indicates.
When the meat is ready, it is added to specialized kilns that feature chambers in which smoke is produced by the burning of wood.
Hickory, which imparts a robust flavor, and maple, which imparts a subtle but sweet flavor, are the two types of woods that are often used by ham manufacturers to produce smoke in order to get the greatest flavor possible.
A signature smokey flavor may be achieved by smoking the pig’s leg at low temperatures for an extended period of time. This allows the flavor to permeate the meat evenly.
One of the reasons why it is such a common cut of meat is due to the fact that it has an exceptional flavor.
In addition, it offers a variety of advantages to one’s health on account of its high protein content, high iron content, nine essential amino acids, and plenty of B vitamins, all of which are important to the maintenance of good physical health.
How long does Smoked Ham Last? Does Smoked Ham Go Bad?
Because of the way in which it is produced, smoked ham may be stored for a significant amount of time before being consumed or opened.
It is smoked after going through a curing process, which helps get rid of dangerous germs that cause spoilage and keeps the product from going bad.
However, once it has been opened, it runs the risk of becoming bad.
According to FoodsSafety, the following is how long it can remain safe to consume dependent on how it is stored.
- Vacuum sealed (Before opening).
When smoked ham is purchased, it is usually vacuum packed before being stored.
Because of this, as long as it is closed, it will continue to be free of any germs that could be present.
When it is in this condition, the ham may be kept in the pantry for up to a year without needing to be refrigerated.
During this period, it will keep its original flavor and state, and it will not be impacted by any of the elements that might cause it to go bad.
- Pantry (Once opened).
When you cut the seal on the smoked ham package, you expose it to the air, which includes a large number of microorganisms that are hungry for the ham and are ready to feed on it.
Because of this, the item’s shelf life will be significantly shortened.
If you keep it in your pantry without using the refrigerator, it will only be edible for a maximum of three days before going bad.
If you want it to keep for a longer period of time, you should probably put it in the refrigerator.
- In the refrigerator/ freezer .
The leftover smoked ham may be preserved rather well in the refrigerator, which is one of the finest methods to do so.
The low temperatures have a tendency to make dangerous microorganisms dormant, which in turn buys you some further time.
However, this will only give you a few of more days, so it is not a strategy that can be considered long-term.
Depending on how cold the temperature is inside the refrigerator, smoked ham may only be stored inside for a maximum of five to seven days before it goes bad.
However, after the seven days have passed, the microorganisms will begin to do their job on it, and it will no longer be usable.
Can you Freeze Smoked Ham?
Yes, you can.
It is possible for smoked ham to maintain its quality for up to four to six months if it is frozen.
There is, however, a comparatively little catch. To ensure that the food will freeze properly, it must first be placed in a plastic food bag and then vacuum sealed.
How to Tell if Smoked Ham is Bad?
The following is a list of warning indicators that your smoked ham has reached its expiration date:
A ham that has gone bad will emit a powerful stench of putrefaction rather than the aroma of smoke.
If you see this, it is time to get rid of the ham since it has gone bad.
- Moldy spots.
In the beginning phases of deterioration, you could see a few spots of mold that are white, green, or gray in color.
If consumed, it may result in severe food poisoning because to the toxic deposits of mycotoxins that it leaves behind.
When smoked ham is uncured, it may have a color that is in between pink and light, and when it is raw, it has a color that is recognizable as being pink.
When it is cooked, the color usually stays the same, which is a pinkish hue.
It begins to take on shades of green, gray, brown, or even black as it deteriorates.
If you find that your ham has taken on any of these hues, it is an indication that it has begun to deteriorate and is no longer fit for human consumption.
When it is still fresh, smoked ham has the consistency of hard meat, yet it is also juicy.
On the other hand, smoked ham that has gone bad will have a texture that feels slimy or sticky when it is touched.
This is a glaring sign that it has already begun to deteriorate, and as a result, it should not be consumed any longer.
The following is a list of potential causes of spoilage in smoked ham.
- High ambient temperatures.
It is possible that this is one of the reasons why smoked ham has such a short shelf life, particularly when it is not kept in the refrigerator.
The ham will go bad since it was kept at a warm temperature, which makes it easier for bacteria to proliferate.
- Exposure to air.
When the ham is exposed to the air, the large quantity of bacteria that are present in the air will cause it to become contaminated.
Because of this, making sure everything is vacuum sealed is very vital.
- Excess moisture.
A breeding place for microorganisms is provided by an abundance of moisture, and it is these creatures that will cause the ham to become bad.
Smoked ham is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world.
It is wonderful to take as a snack at any time of the day as well as a component of a larger meal.
It is susceptible to going bad, just like a lot of other foods, which is why it is essential to make an effort to preserve it in the best possible methods so that it may be kept for a longer period of time.
If, on the other hand, you see any of the indicators of spoiling, you should avoid consuming it since it may cause a problem with your health.