During the holidays, it can be easy to want to try to save those leftovers for as long as possible. But in a time where culinary misinformation is on the rise, it can be easy to forget that refreezing substances that are already cooked provides a clear and present danger to the people around you.
Bacteria thrives on things being frozen that have already been exposed to extremely high temperature, so refreezing thanksgiving dinner can prove to be a very risky challenge.
So can you refreeze ham?
The simple answer is yes! Cooking essentially disinfects the meat, which can be extremely beneficial to the freezing process due to the loss of moisture. In fact, a good way to disinfect the thawed meat is to cook it before freezing.
Why is Refreezing Meat So Risky?
The way that bacteria spreads in the freezer is alarming. There are a litany of rules that freezers in kitchens must follow, such as keeping all meat at the very bottom, keeping certain foods away from each other, and other regulations that severely impact the way that restaurants are run in the U.S.
There is a huge reason that these regulations are there. One of the biggest rules of the restaurant is that you can’t refreeze something that has already been thawed. However, there is a huge exception to cooked food as the extreme heat acts as a type of disinfectant. It becomes harder for bacteria to multiply without the presence of moisture within the storage unit, making cooked meat easiest to store in the freezer.
This will severely dry out the meat, which can be a pain in reheating. Luckily, there are many ways to make the meat moist when recooking it again, so that you can enjoy your meat while also keeping yourself safe.
How Do I Freeze Cooked Ham?
The easiest way to freeze cooked ham safely is to follow those restaurant regulations. Organizing your freezer as to prevent the risk of cross contamination can really leave an impact on your quality of food, as well as the significant decrease of bacteria present in the freezer itself. The lack of bacteria will extend the shelf life of your food and prevent mold from forming in the fridge. You can reheat cooked ham by:
- Preparing your airtight container. Whether you’re keeping your ham in a bag or in an actual container, its best to make sure that there isn’t any moisture kept in from the dishwasher or from other food.
- After you prepare your container, you should make sure to prep the ham accordingly so that it will fit, and to mov around the things in your freezer to ensure that ham can be kept on the bottom or in a meat safe portion of the fridge.
- Pat the cooked ham dry and make sure to take any sauces off it. The sauces will put too much moisture within the container and can spur the growth of mold and bacteria.
After this, the ham will be perfectly fine frozen. It will make it last for a long time, but make sure to monitor it to make sure that nothing strange is happening to the ham.