Ham steak makes for a very practical and savory lunch. The best part is that you don’t need to add much to it to obtain an enjoyable flavor, especially if it’s pre-cooked or smoked. Some people glaze it with a wide variety of sweet sauces, including pineapple and brown sugar, pleasantly contrasting with the steak’s salty taste. Nevertheless, cured ham steak is high in saturated fats, so you should watch out for “bad cholesterol”. Ham in excessive amounts can also lead to other health complications such as diabetes and certain types of cancer. On the good side of things, it provides benefits and supplements to your body such as protein, selenium, and phosphorous. As much as you love ham steak, you may sometimes make more than required. So you start thinking about such questions. Can you freeze ham steak? Does it freeze well? How long does ham steak last in the fridge?
As is usual with most meats such as chicken and beef, you definitely can freeze ham steak and, for long-term preservation. You only need to make sure that the ham is not past the point of spoilage. Otherwise, following the tips provided below, your ham should freeze pretty well with no fear of damage.
To freeze ham steak, just like with most types of ham, you should place it in a resealable airtight plastic bag or container. Optionally, you can wrap the steak in aluminum foil or plastic and place it in a freezer bag, making sure that no air is left inside (otherwise, your steak could experience freezer burn.) Lastly, stow the bag in the freezer until it’s time to eat.
If fully cooked, perform the same procedure. But, before storing it in the freezer, wait till it cools down to room temperature, but don’t leave it out of the fridge or freezer for more than 2 hours, or else you leave room (no pun intended) for bacteria to grow, with a potential risk of foodborne illnesses.
Hams freeze well and ham steak is no exception. By the time you thaw and cook, you should not find any particular difference in taste nor texture when compared to recently bought steak (assuming you did the homework correctly). It does decrease in quality after a certain period, though.
You can safely refreeze ham steak if it was thawed in the fridge. It’s not so safe when it has been thawed in the microwave, as bacteria might have already gotten to it. Nonetheless, it’s always better to plan ahead and thaw only the portions that are to be eaten that day or during the next 2 or 3 days. Keep in mind that with each thawing the food loses moisture, degrading its quality.
Ordinary ham steak can last 3 to 5 days in the fridge, while smoked ham steak can stay 10 days refrigerated without spoilage signs. The fridge has to be set at no more than the maximum of 40º F.
The freezer will preserve the ham from spoiling, but it can only endure in optimal conditions within the first 1 or 2 months of freezing at a maximum temperature of 0º F.
To correctly thaw ham steak, you should use the fridge. Other methods such as submerging in cold water and the famous microwave solution should be seen as in extremis measures, and they normally would not cause too many problems (The effects may vary depending on the ham treatment.) Notwithstanding, the refrigerator allows the ham to defrost in a relatively safe environment, delaying bacterial growth and reducing thus the chances of catching any foodborne illness.
It’s possible to cook the ham directly from the freezer as well and it’s relatively safe, provided that the ham reaches a temperature of 165º F in the shortest possible time. You may use a conventional oven preheated at 325-350º F, a slow cooker, or a pressure cooker for achieving that (keep in mind that you have to add a bit more time than the usual time it takes to cook thawed food.) If you are going to use a frying pan, then it’s best to thaw it first.