Nothing says Christmas more than a traditional Christmas ham.
When cooking a ham for Christmas you’ll need to plan ahead, keep clean, stay cool, separate foods and use up your leftovers. We’ve got food safety tips for all of these stages, plus some clever leftover ham recipes we’ve collected.
Preplanning is key to a safe and organised Christmas lunch, especially when it comes to ham.
- The first step to ensuring you and your family’s safety is to select a high-quality meat. Look for a ham with plenty of marbling through the leg, as these hams maintain moisture better.
- You can buy most varieties of ham pre-cooked, but many people like to add a glaze for a distinctive touch.
- To store ham on the bone, wrap loosely in a clean tea towel or pillowcase which has been rinsed in water and wrung out tightly. You can also buy specific ham bags for this purpose too.
- Change the tea towel every day, and the ham will keep well.
- Store ham in the refrigerator; the air must be able to circulate the ham, so do not have a tight covering.
- Do not store ham in its original packaging.
Proper hygiene plays a very important role in avoiding cross-contamination, bacteria spreading and, ultimately, food poisoning.
- Ensure all plates, utensils and chopping boards are washed in hot soapy water or at high temperatures in your dishwasher before use.
- Use different plates, utensils and chopping boards for raw and cooked food.
- Always throw out leftover food to prevent the contamination of other foods.
In Queensland, our Christmas is hot and balmy so keeping things cool is of paramount importance.
- Food spoils most commonly between the temperatures of 5oC to 60o.
- It is important to limit the time that perishable food spends in this danger zone.
- Ensure your fridge is kept at 4-5oC to stop bacteria from multiplying.
How you store your uncooked and cooked ham is a crucial food safety step.
- Store raw and cooked ham separately.
- Put raw ham on the lower shelves of the fridge in leak-proof containers to prevent spills into other food.
- Store cooked ham above any other raw meats in your fridge.
- When transporting food always use leak-proof containers and keep raw food at the bottom of a cooler to prevent juices from dripping onto other food.
If you’re cooking a large ham, you’re more than likely going to have lots of leftovers. Make sure you treat them properly with our tips and tricks.
- After opening, the ham will keep for about two weeks. Freeze ham for up to four weeks. Ham tastes saltier and less smoky after freezing.
- Running out of ideas for using up your ham? Check out some recipe ideas below.
Leftover recipe inspiration
When your fridge is chockers with leftover ham you get sick of ham sandwiches pretty quickly. That’s why we’ve selected some interesting and tasty recipes to give you some inspiration.