Now that Easter is over, you might be wondering what to do with leftover ham. Of course there are many options, but one thing you should not do is let it sit too long in the refrigerator.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ham is good for three to five days in the refrigerator after it is cooked. If you need more time to use up those leftovers, ham will last up to two months in the freezer.
The USDA also recommends wrapping up leftovers well.
“Cover leftovers, wrap them in airtight packaging, or seal them in storage containers. These practices help keep bacteria out, retain moisture, and prevent leftovers from picking up odors from other food in the refrigerator. Immediately refrigerate or freeze the wrapped leftovers for rapid cooling,” the USDA said.
Although leftover ham is perfectly fine to eat cold, the USDA says to keep leftovers out of the danger zone, which is between 40 degrees and 140 degrees. Bacteria tends to grow at those temperatures, which can cause foodborne illnesses.
If you decide to freeze leftovers, the safest ways to thaw them are in the microwave, in the refrigerator or using cold water.
Then there is the decision on what to make with the leftovers.
According to Google Trends, the most popular searches for leftover ham include split pea soup, ham and potato casserole, leftover ham and mashed potatoes, ham and noodle casserole and ham bone soup.
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