What to Do With Leftover Ham: Recipes, Storage, and Serving Tips
If you’ve ever found yourself with a surplus of mouthwatering ham after a weekend feast, you’re in for a delightful surprise. Those savory leftovers can be your kitchen’s ‘unsung’ hero, especially when weeknight cooking feels like a daunting task.
From sprinkling ham slices on top of a hearty soup to adding a few slices to quick grilled cheese sandwiches for a satisfying lunch, your leftover ham doesn’t need to end up in the waste bin. If you’re eager to unpack our top leftover ham recipes, clever storage tricks, and serving tips, keep reading – we’ve got you covered!
How to Store Leftover Ham Properly
Serving leftover ham can be super convenient, especially if you’re in a pinch! But, if you’re not storing it properly or at the right temperature, you can run the risk of harmful bacteria growth. On top of this, improper storage can lead to loss of flavor! To mitigate food waste or spoiled ham, here are storage tips to consider.
Refrigerator Storage Tips
If you plan to consume your cooked leftover ham in 3-5 days, refrigerating might be the best option, according to USDA. To store your ham properly, it’s best to use vacuum-sealed bags or airtight containers to prevent moisture loss and bacteria growth. Also, remember to take a look at your refrigerator’s temperature range! Ideally, it should be between 34°F and 40°F or 1°C-4°C. Lastly, to ward off cross-contamination and ensure a consistent temperature, it’s best to store ham on a lower shelf or specific meat drawer in your refrigerator.
Freezer Storage Tips
Based on USDA recommendations, you can store cooked leftover ham in the freezer for up to two months and the ideal freezing temperature is 0°F (-18°C) or below. Once again, to make sure you’re taking into account safety precautions, it’s best to wrap your leftovers in freezer-safe plastic wrap or heavy-duty aluminum foil before storing them in a resealable freezer bag.
What To Do with Leftover Ham: Easy Recipe Ideas
Before we delve into our roundup of creative yet easy meal ideas, it’s crucial to pay attention to the quality of your ham first, especially if you’re considering leftovers. At Coleman Natural, our commitment is to prioritize quality over quantity, sourcing from trusted small American farmers. This dedication ensures we consistently deliver all-natural, crate-free pork that’s both pure and delicious. With this insight, let’s dive into the world of leftover recipes!
“Coleman hams use only natural ingredients to get the traditional cured color and flavor. Choosing an uncured ham ensures that there are no artificial curing ingredients.”
Robert McEwan, Food Technologist
Appetizer Recipes: Ham Gets the Party Started
With just 15 minutes of prep time, you can whip up a batch of Ham, Egg & Cheese Wontons that the whole family will devour. Begin by blending one large beaten egg, minced shallot, mayo, mustard, and a pinch of pepper. Then, fold in the shredded smoked Gouda cheese and the chopped Coleman Natural Ham. Assemble the mixture in star-shaped wonton wrappers, pop them in the oven, and in no time, you’ll have a warm, golden-brown delight. Finish it off with a sprinkle of fresh chives for that perfect touch of flavor.
Looking for a few more easy app ideas? Try adding shredded ham and chives to wild rice for an interesting side dish. Or combine minced ham in the filling for Deviled Eggs!
Breakfast Recipes: A Little Protein in the Morning with Ham
Nothing screams breakfast more than Ham and Cheese Quiche, crisped to perfection and full of flavor! Make the flaky crust by combining flour and butter, adding a splash of vinegar and water to create a perfect, non-sticky dough. Then layer in fresh Swiss chard, cubed ham, sharp cheddar cheese, and green onions in the tart shell. Pour the whisked egg mixture over the top and bake until it’s golden and set. After a short rest, slice and serve this savory delight.
More “all about ham” breakfast ideas to try:
- Combine ham with peppers, onions, and cheese to make a Denver omelet.
- Shred ham and sauté with onions and potatoes to make a breakfast hash and serve with a fried egg on top.
- Make a breakfast strata with ham, eggs, cheese, and leftover scraps of bread. It can be made the night before and baked for brunch the next day.
- Make a twist on chicken & waffles with this “Fried” Ham and Savory Waffles recipe.
Lunch Recipes: Quick Bites for Mid-Day Satisfaction
If you’re craving a lean, yet satiating lunch, look no further. Try our Orzo Salad with Ham recipe! Just cook your orzo according to the box instructions. Chop up a medley of fresh veggies and brown 1/2-inch pieces of ham in a skillet.
Once cooled, combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and voila — you’ll have lunch in under 30 minutes.
Check out these ham recipes, ideal for lunch hour:
- Combine ham with broccoli and mix with a cheese sauce for a quick lunch or dinner.
- Dice ham, add pickles, ground mustard, and mayonnaise for a classic ham salad.
- Add cubed ham and cheese to mixed greens for a hearty chef’s salad.
- Add sliced ham to grilled cheese sandwiches.
Dinner Recipes: Gather Around the Table with the Savory Flavor of Ham
When it comes to dinner, there’s something special about hearty, wholesome recipes, and a top choice for making the most of leftover ham is our Ham with Blistered Peppers and Pilaf. Start by warming up some butter and gently browning grain bulgur and pasta over medium-high heat, adding broth to ensure even cooking. In a separate skillet, sizzle the peppers until their skin blisters and simultaneously sear the ham steaks.
When each element is cooked to perfection, combine them for a satisfying meal that’s ready to serve!
Try these leftover ham dinner ideas:
- Add ham to chicken broth along with carrots, celery, and onions, and simmer for 15 minutes for a quick and hearty soup. Try our Ribollita Soup recipe.
- Add cubed ham to soups like Corn Chowder or Navy Bean Soup. Try our Corn and Bacon Chowder recipe.
- Substitute ham for pancetta in your favorite Spaghetti Carbonara recipe.
- Use ham instead of chicken in recipes like Chicken Divan or Chicken á la King.
- Add ham to basic macaroni and cheese along with some peas, top with grated cheese, and bake until bubbly.
- Layer sliced ham with Gruyere cheese and boneless chicken breasts to make Chicken Cordon Bleu.
- Substitute ham for the chicken in your favorite Chicken Pot Pie recipe.
- Top baked potatoes with shredded ham, cheddar cheese, and green onions. Bake until the cheese is melted, then serve with a dollop of sour cream.
- Combine ham with sautéed mushrooms and a béchamel sauce in crepes.
Best Leftover Ham Serving Tips
Now that you have an array of recipes to choose from, here are a few handy serving tips to consider!
#1 Thaw and Reheat with Care: So you’re ready to pull out your leftover ham from the refrigerator or freezer, but what’s the best way to serve without drying out? Simply add your ham to a safe dish and add a bit of water or broth to the ham. Cover and reheat on the stovetop, in the oven, or microwave. This can ensure it retains the most moisture! Note, according to the USDA, leftover cooked ham should be reheated to 165°F.
#2 Pair with Complementary Flavors: Remember we mentioned ham is versatile? This is primarily because its natural flavor can pair well with just about anything! You can serve it with an array of condiments, such as grainy mustard, sweet honey, or a fruity glaze. If you have pineapple chunks or apple sauce on hand, this can also be a perfect contrast to the savory flavors of leftover ham.
#3 Consider Presentation: Depending on the occasion, consider jazzing up your presentation of leftover ham with decadent garnishes, such as lemon or orange wedges, rosemary or thyme, or even sliced cherry tomatoes for extra color.
#4 Serve on a Charcuterie Board: In charge of assembling the charcuterie board at your next family gathering? Along with an assortment of cheeses, nuts, and crackers, you can add a few spirals of leftover ham for extra protein!
#5 Accompany with Wine or Beer: Once again, the natural saltiness can pair extremely well with the acidity and sweetness of several wines, such as a crisp Riesling or even a more fruity Pinot Noir. If you’re a beer drinker, consider pairing your leftover ham with a light lager or wheat beer.
How To Detect Spoiled Ham
The last thing you want to serve your family is spoiled ham! To avoid this potential disaster, here are a few more tips to consider.
#1 Check the Smell: If you get a whiff of a foul, off-putting odor, chances are, you have spoiled ham on your hands. Safe-to-consume ham should give off a slightly sweet aroma. However, if it smells sour, don’t run the risk. You’re better off tossing it!
#2. Examine the Appearance: Fresh ham that’s okay to devour will usually exhibit a pink or soft crimson color. However, if you see that the color is a slightly muted gray or is discolored in any way, usually it’s bad. Additionally, if you spot any sort of mold or bacteria on the surface, this could be a sign of contamination.
#3. Texture and Consistency: You’ll easily notice bad ham if the texture is sticky or has a slimy “film” on top. Fresh ham will often be slightly firm to the touch and moist.
Savor High-Quality Leftover Ham, Every Time
It’s clear—if you find yourself with leftover ham, there are countless creative recipes to consider! But one thing is for sure, you definitely don’t want to serve your family bad ham, which is where Coleman Natural can help.
If you’re on the hunt for the perfect ham to serve, check out all of our delicious options, including Applewood Smoked Uncured Bone-In Spiral Ham, Uncured Ham Steak, Sliced Boneless Uncured Quarter Ham, Boneless Uncured Half Ham, and more.
The Coleman Way, since 1875, is our commitment to quality, taking pride in humanely raising animals on family farms in the U.S.A with no antibiotics ever, no growth hormones, and 100% vegetarian fed. The result is premium, great tasting, all-natural meats in a variety of cuts and flavors that can be easily prepared and you can feel good about serving to family and friends.
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