Can you eat ham 2 days after the use-by date?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat ham 2 days after the use-by date?”, how to store ham to prolong its shelf-life, how to tell if the ham is bad, can you freeze ham, and how long does ham last.

Can you eat ham 2 days after the use-by date?

Yes, you can eat ham 2 days after the use-by date. Closely inspect the ham for spoilage before you eat it. If any signs of spoilage appear, get rid of the ham.

How to store ham to prolong its shelf-life?

The general rule of thumb is to store ham either in the fridge or in the freezer. There is another type of ham that can stay fresh at room temperature. We will get to that past later.

The ham, regardless of its type, should be kept in the fridge or the freezer at all times. To avoid temperature fluctuations, keep the ham near the ice tray in the fridge. 

Another thing you need to consider while storing ham is its packaging. The original vacuum-sealed or tightly-wrapped packaging is the best. If you tor open the original packaging and it cannot be resealed, shift your ham to an air-tight container or a freezer bag.

Foil or plastic wrap also works. Now comes the canned ham that is displayed in the refrigerated meat section. Keep this at room temperature and it should be fine. A cool pantry is ideal but a kitchen cabinet away from the stove would also work.

This only applies if the can is still unopened. Once opened, the storage instructions differ. Shift the leftover contents of the can to an air-tight container or a freezer bag. This will ensure that the ham does not pick up any unwanted odors, and does not dry out or spoil.

What is the shelf-life of ham?

Ham stays good for about 1-2 weeks past the date on the label. However, this only applies If the ham has been consistently refrigerated at 4C or below. If you want the ham to last around longer, freeze it. Otherwise, you can cook the ham before refrigeration. 

Cooked and refrigerated ham stays fresh for up to 10 days. Frozen ham is best used within 3-4 months but stays fresh for about 6-8 months. 

Can you freeze ham?

Yes, you can freeze ham. Just like pulled pork, ham freezes well. The minor changes in texture and overall quality in the ham after thawing may be neglected considering the other benefits of freezing such as prolonged shelf-life. 

You can minimize the quality changes due to freezing if you cook your ham before freezing. Freezing cooked ham, when you are free, saves you time and the hassle of doing it later on.

Now let’s talk about portion sizing before freezing. This is super important as it allows you to thaw only as much ham as you need at a time. 

If you intend to freeze slices, divide them into portions. If you are freezing them together, use a separator between each slice so that they do not stick to each other during freezing. A separator could be a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper. 

If you have a bulk of ham to be frozen, divide it into meal-sized portions to make things easier for later. Now comes the packaging. 

Keeping the ham in its original packaging is your best bet. If the packaging is not intact, shift the ham to a freezer bag or an air-tight container. For bonus protection, you can foil wrap your hm and then put it into a container or bag.

The extra protection will make sure your ham stays good for longer than anticipated by blocking the cold and harsh freezer air from reaching the meat. 

Freezer bags are more space-friendly than containers so they’re preferred by most people. Just make sure to get rid of as much air as possible from the freezer bag before freezing. Press the bag or use a straw to suck out the air from the bag.

How to tell if the ham has gone bad?

Expiration date: Once the ham is past its printed date and is opened, throw it out. If unopened, you can expect it to last a few weeks or months past its expiry depending on how you store it.

Mold: If the ham starts to develop grey, green, or black fuzzy patches or discoloration over its surface, it has become moldy. Throw it out right away.

Off-smell: If the ham emits a rotten smell, it is time to discard it.

Texture: Spoiled ham develops a slimy film all over its surface. If the ham feels sticky to the touch, get rid of it. 

Off-taste: If everything else seems right, you can taste a bit of ham to give the final verdict. If the taste is off, you know what to do with your ham. Throw it out immediately.


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat ham 2 days after the use-by date?”, how to store ham to prolong its shelf-life, how to tell if the ham is bad, can you freeze ham, and how long does ham last.


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