Generally, ham can sit out for about 2 hours before going bad. With that said, note that the time it takes for food to spoil depends on factors like the curing process and the rooms’ humidity and temperature.
I’ve cooked ham for years and had tasty ham slices go bad on my watch. Frankly, it’s not pleasant. The sheer waste of effort and money stung and could’ve been avoided if I knew what I know now.
So, in today’s post, I’ll help you avoid making the same mistakes I did. I’ll share how long this piece of pork can stay out on the counter, and also the best ways to store it.
According to the USDA, ham can sit out for two hours before going bad. Meat that is left between 40 and 140 degrees has a high risk of quickly developing harmful bacteria.
So, you should avoid letting ham, whether it is cooked or uncooked, sit out all night at room temperature. You run the risk of contracting food poisoning because of the bacteria that grow on the meat.
Even sliced ham stays good for two hours at room temperature. Afterward, it starts to rot and grow harmful bacteria.
However, in hotter conditions, the ham may only stay fresh for just an hour. Remember that ham stored in an moisture proof bags or containers will remain fresh for up to five days in the fridge or up to four months in the freezer.
Ham should be kept out of the 40-to-140-degree temperature range to prevent harmful bacteria from growing quickly. You can achieve this by warming the meat or storing it in a fridge or freezer. Here are more tips on how to keep cooked ham fresh.
Not necessarily. Even though it may take longer, you can cook a frozen ham. However, it’s always better to let the ham sit and thaw.
The most important thing is to ensure the internal temperature reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit once you’ve started cooking. I recommend using a meat thermometer to get the most accurate readings.
Cooking spoiled ham is clearly very dangerous for your overall health. So, it helps if you know how to spot rotten ham. Here are four signs that your ham is bad.
To be sure your ham is still usable before cooking it, check the expiration date on the label. When it comes to cooked ham, remember, storing this meat in the fridge allows it to be used safely for up to 5 days. If you decide to store cooked ham in the original package, mark the day you started holding it with a label or ink.
The ham’s smell is one of the surefire ways to tell if it’s rotten. Fresh ham may have a slight salty or smoky smell, depending on how it was treated. However, if your ham has a pungent, sulfuric odor, it’s time to throw it out.
Typically, ham appears in different shades of pink depending on whether it is raw or cooked. If you notice any other strange colors, like green or brown, it’s best to toss the ham in the trash.
In addition to color and smell, the texture is another indicator of rotten meat. Your ham should feel supple and slightly moist. However, if the ham feels slimy or sticky, it’s going bad.
First, ensure the ham is still good. Then, set your oven to 135–140 degrees Fahrenheit and put the ham in it. Reheat the meat until it reaches 145 degrees. Then, bring the leftover ham out of the oven and slice it into thinner pieces.
Bad ham is a great breeding place for harmful bacteria. This means you may suffer food poisoning symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc., after eating it. Mild symptoms can be treated for a few days with medication and a better diet. However, if the symptoms are severe, see a doctor right away. For this reason, take food safety seriously to prevent cases of food poisoning.
It’s not a good idea to eat ham after its expiration date. However, if you stored the pre-cooked ham properly and haven’t opened it, check its freshness using the signs I discussed above. If the cured ham doesn’t pass the test, simply throw it away.
Food poisoning is no fun. For this reason, you shouldn’t let the ham sit out for over 2 hours. It’s best to store the meat in the fridge or freezer instead of letting it stay out for that long. Freezing halts the growth of harmful bacteria on the meat. Don’t wait too long to finish your ham, though, because it loses its tasty essence after about 1-2 months of freezing.
Hopefully, by now you have a definitive answer to how long can ham sit out. Follow my storage tips so you can cook a dish that’s delicious and safe to eat.