Found the perfect ham at the grocery store for your big holiday meal? Not sure if it's too early to buy it? We will let you know how far in advance you can buy one.
When shopping for a big meal to you like to shop ahead? I think it reduces stress and saves energy when you can shop ahead for food instead of the day before, especially for a big meal.
Some foods you have to buy the last minute because they don't last very long but others you can buy ahead of time such as ham, the topic of today's post.
🗓️ When Does Ham Expire?
When you buy a ham in the store, what kind of expiration date do you find? How far out do they normally go out?
Let me give you an example. I was looking at Costco on April 4th, 2022 looking to see what hams they had. Easter in 2022 is/was on April 17 . Here is what I found.
Here you see two different types of hams. One had an expiration date of 5-8-22 and the other was 7-6-2022. Clearly that is long after Easter. I could easily grab one of these hams and put it in my fridge until Easter and be totally fine.
The only other factors to consider is if you have enough fridge space. Also will the ham go on sale? Usually they do the week or two before Easter or Christmas. That may be a reason to wait until the sales ad comes out from your favorite grocery store.
Buying early also gives you the most options as we get closer to the big holiday, certain types or sizes of hams may sell out. Rarely do I find stores selling out, you just may end up with fewer choices, not no choice the day before.
🧊 How Long Do They Keep in the Fridge?
With the ham in it's packaging it will last for weeks. A spiral ham is usually given a shorter shelf life, but still plenty of time to use one.
If we are talking about ham that you already cooked and are putting back in the fridge as leftovers, it's a little different. Any leftovers I would try to eat within 3-4 days. You can always freeze the leftovers. If you know that you won't use the leftovers in that 3-4 day window try to freeze the ham as soon as you can.
RELATED - How to Freeze Leftover Ham
⛔ How To Tell if It's Bad
I have to admit, this has never happened to me. Hams are full of salt and that helps preserve the meat longer.
Meat can have a smell when you open it up at first when it's vacuum sealed, but the smell usually goes away pretty quickly. If there is a lingering unpleasant smell , then you probably want to consider a different ham for your meal.
If you see mold, I would toss it.
🍖 Ham FAQ
Got some more ham questions? We got some ham answers!
- What Ingredients are in Ham?
- What's the Difference Between Shank and Butt Ham?
- Can You Cook Ham in the Instant Pot?
- How Can You Keep a Spiral Ham from Drying Out?
✍️ What is your favorite brand of ham to buy in the store? Leave a comment below.