How long does vacuum packed ham keep in the fridge? dissolved! (2023)

Ham is one of the most popular types of pork and, like bacon, is often enjoyed as a breakfast staple. It can be salted or uncured, smoked or not, and combined with other spices and ingredients to create different flavors.

To preserve freshness, they are usually vacuum-packed and vacuum-packed when you buy them at the store.

Vacuum sealing meat removes oxygen from the packaging and prevents bacteria from accumulating and prevents the meat from being exposed to chemical reactions that cause food to spoil, giving it a longer shelf life.

Processed meats like ham also benefit from this practice. But how long do they last in the fridge?


How long does vacuum-packed ham last in the fridge?

Vacuum-packed ham can be kept in the refrigerator for two weeks unopened and three to five days after opening. If the expiration date is indicated on a closed package of ham, then the ham must be consumed before this date.

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How long can I keep my vacuum-packed ham in the fridge?

The expiry date may vary depending on the type of ham, fresh or cured, and the way it was packaged or packaged.

Fresh uncured ham, cooked or raw, can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Raw ham, cooked or raw, has a shelf life of 3 to 7 days, unless the expiry date is indicated. A whole ham packed in the warehouse will keep for between 3 and 5 days.

On average, ham only lasts about a week in the fridge, but vacuum packing extends its shelf life.

USDA report, an unopened, vacuum-packed ham will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or until the expiration date shown on the package. Once opened, the shelf life is reduced to the usual 3-5 days.

Because while they're vacuumed, bacteria, mold, and other pathogens are safely kept out. meat and package. Once opened, oxygen can enter and with it the bacteria that spoil food.

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While vacuum-sealed ham protects it and makes it last longer, it won't last forever. How it's stored and whether it's open or closed will determine how long it lasts in the fridge.

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How long does vacuum-packed ham last in the freezer?

On average, ham lasts about a week in the fridge. and the freezer

According to the USDA, hams, regardless of type and whether cooked or raw, will keep indefinitely in the freezer, but to ensure the best meat quality, it's best to follow specific timeframes.

Fresh raw ham lasts for about 6 months in the freezer, while cooked ham should only be frozen for 3-4 months.

Likewise, raw, cured ham will keep for 3 to 4 months, while cooked ham will only last for 1 to 2 months in the freezer.

All other cooked hams, including vacuum hams, should not be kept in the freezer for more than 2 months.

Of course, this assumes the ham is properly wrapped in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and stored in airtight containers.

What is ham?

Ham is a type of processed pork meat made from the hind legs of a pig. The term usually refers to both the whole leg and sliced ​​and rolled ones.

Ham can be fresh (not cured) or aged by salting and drying. It can be smoked or non-smoked.

Like bacon, it is a breakfast table staple and a type of processed meat. Bacon is made from the back or belly of the pig, while ham is made from the thighs of the pig.

types of alleged

Ham can be divided into three types.

1. City Ham

City hams are the most common type of ham. These are the ones you would normally find in the supermarket. They are "wet cured" with a brine solution and can be raw or pre-cooked and ready to eat.

2. Landscaping

Country hams are typically dry-cured, smoked, and aged for months to years. They are usually sold raw and can be harder to find. They can be very salty and dry, but certain varieties have a huge following.

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3. Presumed cool

Fresh ham is uncured, unprocessed, and uncooked and is usually labeled as such. It is also called "green ham".

Because it's flavorless and uncooked, you'll have more freedom in the types of seasonings you want to add to create your own unique version of ham.

Regardless of the type of ham, it is known that many people simply fall in love with this type of pork.

Purpose of vacuum packing ham and other foods

Making food more durable and affordable has always been one of the main goals of human society.

Because of this, for thousands of years we have seen evidence that humans have invented various ways to preserve their food to ensure that they always have something to eat, no matter what the circumstances.

Methods such as drying in the sun or preserving food in salt or vinegar have been around for thousands of years and are known to be the oldest methods of preserving food.

Over the last hundred years, food preservation has evolved dramatically with the advent of refrigeration, canning and vacuum sealing.

Now more than ever, our food is much safer and has a longer shelf life.

What is vacuum packaging?

Vacuum packaging is the process of removing all oxygen from a package prior to sealing. Wasinvented by Karl Busch in the 1950s, a German inventor who thought it was a way to make food last longer.

Removing all oxygen from a package deprives bacteria and mold of something essential for their survival. They cannot survive or thrive without oxygen. Taking them out of the environment or packaging ensures they don't have a chance to affect the food and spoil it.

Removing oxygen also inhibits chemical reactions that can accelerate food spoilage and spoilage, giving food a longer shelf life.

In addition to preserving food and extending its shelf life, vacuum packaging also offers:

  • Protects food from freezer burn
  • Preserves the texture and taste of food
  • Minimizes cross contamination
  • reduce waste
  • Increases storage space in fridges and freezers

In addition to protecting food from spoilage and allowing for a longer shelf life, vacuum packaging has other benefits as it preserves food integrity and provides a way to reduce waste and maximize space.

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Vacuum packed vs plastic film

Sometimes we see meat wrapped in plastic but not vacuum sealed. Is it safe and does the meat last longer?

wrapped in plastic Meat is widely available, especially in supermarkets. While it does provide some physical protection to the meat, it doesn't keep bacteria and mold at bay as it still allows oxygen to permeate the package. Traditional plastic wrap does not keep out oxygen, so food spoils normally.

For example, in the supermarket, bacon can usually be found vacuum packed, but if it is fresh bacon from the butcher shop, it can just be wrapped in plastic. This just means that the one that is not vacuumed will spoil faster. However, if there is air in the packaging of an allegedly vacuum package, then you should not eat it. Read more below: Unaspirated bacon packaging.

Vacuum-packed meats, when available, offer a better choice as they last longer and are more effective at keeping bacteria and pathogens out of your food.

However, that doesn't mean it protects against all types of pathogens or lasts forever. You still need to keep your meat refrigerated and stored properly.

How to tell if the ham has spoiled

No matter how well it's been stored, your ham will eventually go bad and go bad. So how do you know when it's time to throw it away?

expiration date

Most packaged meats have a use-by or best-before date on the label. If your ham is past its sell-by date or more than a week past its use-by date, it's best to throw it away rather than risk foodborne illness.

The appearance

The color of the ham varies from light beige to light pink to rose or mahogany. If there are other colors like green, black, or gray, or if you see visible mold or unusual stains, it's best to throw it away.


You will definitely know when the meat has gone bad, as it has an unpleasant, sulphurous odor. If your ham smells like this or has any other strange smells, it's best to discard it.


If your ham has become sticky or slimy in texture, it's gone bad and it's time to buy a new pack of ham.

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Risks of eating rotten ham

Rotten ham is not pleasant to eat. Plus, you're also putting yourself at risk for a potentially serious foodborne illness.

If you eat spoiled or contaminated meat, you are at risk of developing the following symptoms:

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  • nausea
  • To vomit
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • stomach pain and cramps
  • muscle cramp
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • cognitive problems

While most of these symptoms will go away on their own, there is always a risk that they will become more severe, especially if you are an immunocompromised person.

It is better to always be careful and prudent with what we consume and always take care that food, especially meat, is handled and stored properly.

It's better to use our senses and common sense about the food we consume and take responsibility for our own health.

Keep reading:How long can cooked ham keep out of the fridge?

Conclusion on How long does vacuum-packed ham last in the fridge?

An unopened package of vacuum-packed ham will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks or until the manufacturer's expiration date if stored properly.

However, once opened, the shelf life in the refrigerator is shortened to about 3-5 days.

If you want your ham to last longer, you can store it in the freezer. With proper packaging and storage, cooked or uncooked ham will keep in the freezer for several months.

Frequently Asked Questions about How long does vacuum-packed ham last in the fridge?

What is ham?

Ham is a type of processed pork meat made from pork thighs. It can be wet cured with brine or dry cured with salt and other spices and smoked or not. A specific type of ham, known as fresh ham, is unsmoked, uncured, and flavorless.

Can I store vacuum-packed ham in the freezer?

Vacuum packed ham can be stored in the freezer and has a shelf life of 1 to 2 months.

Why is meat vacuum packed?

Vacuum packing removes all oxygen from the package before sealing. Oxygen deprivation inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi and slows down the food spoilage process.

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Is ham the same as bacon?

Ham and bacon are pork products. Both are cured and processed. Bacon is processed from the belly or back of the pig, while ham is the meat obtained from the hind legs of the pig.


How long does vacuum-sealed ham last once opened? › provides several guidelines for safe ham storage depending on which type of product you have on hand: A full, vacuum-sealed ham: Two weeks. Slices, half or spiral cut: Three to five days. Luncheon meat: Three to five days upon being opened.

Can ham last 2 weeks in the fridge? ›

If your ham has been stored in the fridge for more than five days after the package has been opened or in the freezer for more than six months, it is best to throw it out. Ham that has been exposed to temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit should also be disposed of.

How can you tell if packaged ham is bad? ›

In a Nutshell

Off smell, discolorations, slime, and bad taste are all signs of spoiled ham. Uncooked ham lasts 3 to 5 days if fresh and around 5 to 7 days if cured. Once cooked, it keeps for about two weeks if vacuum sealed and 3 to 5 days once opened or not vacuum sealed at all.

How long does vacuum-sealed Christmas ham last in the fridge? ›

If you have a boneless, vacuum-sealed ham that has been refrigerated, it should last for up to two weeks. However, if you have a bone-in ham vacuum-sealed and refrigerated, it will only last for about one week. If you want your ham to last longer, consider freezing it.

How long can raw meat stay in the fridge if vacuum sealed? ›

Vacuum sealing can extend the fridge life of meats as well, but because anaerobic bacteria can grow at temperatures above 3°F, all vacuum-packed refrigerated meats should be unsealed and cooked within 10 days.

How long does vacuumed sealed meat last? ›

Meats, like beef, poultry and fish, generally only stay fresh for about six months when stored in the freezer by conventional methods. Using your vacuum sealer can extend that shelf life to about two to three years.

Can you eat 3 week old ham? ›

Ham lasts for 1-2 weeks beyond their labeled date, considering all the following variables. The shelf life of ham depends on a variety of factors, such as the sell by date, the preparation method and how it was stored. Ham, just like bacon, is a cured meat prepared from the hind thighs of a hog.

How long is a spiral ham good in the fridge? ›

Although spoilage may be minimal, expiration dates are used on such products as spiral ham to ensure quality and reliability of the meat. Most spiral hams have a seven-to-10 day "use by" date on the expiration date label.

How long does supermarket ham last in the fridge? ›

As a guide shaved or sliced ham should last three to five days in the fridge. You can also freezer your sliced and whole hams. Whole hams will last in the freezer for up to three months; sliced for up to one month and cooked pieces for two to three months.

Can you get food poisoning from packaged ham? ›

Deli meats including ham, bacon, salami and hot dogs can be a source of food poisoning. They can become contaminated with harmful bacteria including Listeria and Staphylococcus aureus at several stages during processing and manufacturing.

Does packaged ham go bad? ›

Yes, and frozen ham will typically last 1-2 months.

Push the air out of the bag then seal it and set it in the freezer. There are two exceptions to the 1- to 2-month rule. Fresh, uncured, and uncooked ham will last up to 6 months, while fresh, uncured, and cooked ham will last 3-4 months.

Can you freeze vacuum packed ham? ›

When freezing an uncooked ham, the original wrapper might not provide sufficient insulation against freezer burn. You might need to protect it by vacuum-sealing, enclosing it in a freezer bag, or wrapping it securely in several thicknesses of plastic wrap, freezer paper, or foil. Be sure to label and date the package.

How long can you keep an unopened ham in the refrigerator? ›

Properly stored, whole ham or half ham will typically last for 5 to 7 days, or the date on the package, in the fridge. Unopened whole ham or half ham may be kept in its original store packaging when refrigerating; to maximize the shelf life of whole ham or half ham, do not open the package until ready to use.

How long can you keep an unopened Smithfield ham in the refrigerator? ›

Cooked country hams, Genuine Smithfield hams, and unopened slices will keep at least 6 weeks under refrigeration. Cooked hams may be frozen; however, we recommend removal of the bone before freezing. Gourmet slices should be consumed within a few days of opening.

How long before Christmas should I buy a ham? ›

You can store perishable ham safely according to these time limits: Uncooked ham, fully cooked spiral-sliced or unsliced ham, 3 to 5 days; ham after home cooking, 3 to 4 days.

Can bacteria grow on vacuum sealed meat? ›

In vacuum-packaged meat, psychrotrophic facultative anaerobic and anaerobic bacteria can grow and cause different types of spoilage (56).

Can bacteria grow in vacuum sealed food? ›

The National Center for Food Preservation warns that there are risks with vacuum sealed food products. Some harmful bacteria that only grow in air-free setting can grow much better and faster in vacuum sealed products than if they were not vacuum sealed.

Does meat spoil in a vacuum? ›

The removal of oxygen from a food package does not eliminate microbial growth. Perishable (whether it is raw or cooked) meats and poultry in vacuum packaging cannot be stored at room temperature. They must be kept either in the refrigerator at 40 ºF or below, or for longer storage, in the freezer at 0 °F or below.

Should you rinse vacuum-sealed meat? ›

During storage and shipping, meats can release gas in the vacuum-sealed bag which may produce a strong and sometimes adverse sulfur smell. If this happens to occur, simply remove the meat from the bag when you are ready to cook, rinse and allow it to air out until the smell has dissipated.

What are the disadvantages of vacuum sealing food? ›

Some foods contain anaerobic bacteria, which can grow without the presence of air. Within a vacuum sealed pouch, with reduced oxygen, these bacteria will grow and may pose a risk to your health.

Can I refreeze vacuum-sealed meat? ›

To refreeze, place meat that has been vacuum-sealed in the coldest area of the freezer, with packaging intact. Meat that has not been vacuum-sealed should be tightly wrapped in freezer paper and/or plastic wrap before refreezing.

Can you give 10 month old ham? ›

9 to 24 months:

Avoid cured hams and deli meat, as well as store-bought baked and glazed hams. If you'd like to a small taste of these products as part of a special occasion, that's fine, just make sure that there is no honey in the ingredients if the child is under 12 months of age.

Why does ham go GREY? ›

Exposure to light and oxygen causes oxidation to take place, which causes the breaking down of color pigments formed during the curing process. Chemicals in the cure and oxygen, as well as energy from ultraviolet and visible light, contribute to both the chemical breakdown and microbial spoilage of the product.

Can you freeze ham after 4 days? ›

If your leftover ham has been cooked, it will keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days. This applies to both cured and uncured (fresh) cooked hams. To freeze leftover ham, wrap it well in a layer of plastic wrap, then wrap that package in aluminum foil or place it into plastic freezer bags.

Are spiral hams always precooked? ›

How to Heat a Spiral Ham. Your ham is already cooked, so it only needs to be brought to a suitable serving temperature, which is about 140°F.

Is spiral ham better than regular ham? ›

Not only does spiral bone-in ham have a natural and preserved fresh flavor—it's also a lot easier to cut, because of the extra work done at the butcher's block. Even though the bone is still there, you have clear cutting lines to follow while slicing.

Can you eat ham past its use by date? ›

Use-by dates are about safety

A use-by date on food is about safety. This is the most important date to remember. Never eat food after the use-by date, even if it looks and smells ok, as it could make you very ill.

What are the effects of eating bad ham? ›

Foodborne illness, more commonly referred to as food poisoning, is the result of eating contaminated, spoiled, or toxic food. The most common symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Although it's quite uncomfortable, food poisoning isn't unusual.

What does spoiled ham taste like? ›

As rfusca wisely points out, you can't taste or smell several kinds of contamination, and the ones that you can taste or smell, are usually sour, bitter, or generally pungent.

How long does prepackaged ham last after opening? ›

Packaged lunch meats can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks before opening. After opening a package of lunch meats or buying sliced lunch meats at a deli, you can refrigerate them for three to five days. Keep your refrigerator at 40 °F or less).

Is a 3 year old frozen ham still good? ›

Technically, freezing ham will keep it safe indefinitely, but it might not taste good after years of sitting in the freezer.

Why you shouldn't freeze ham? ›

If you store it longer, it'll develop freezer burn, which is the meat drying out at the edges. The longer it stays in the freezer, the more freezer burn it will develop. If you are lucky enough to have a free-standing non-frost-free freezer, you can keep the ham up to 4 months without freezer burn.

How do you reheat a vacuum-sealed ham? ›

Enjoy! Fully cooked ham (safe to eat cold or room-temp). To enjoy warm, we recommend letting the sealed bag come to room temp first, then bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, place the boil-safe-vacuum sealed bag in the boiling water, making sure to submerge as much as possible. Boil for 8 minutes.

How long can opened ham last in the fridge? ›

Information. Spiral-cut hams and leftovers from consumer-cooked hams may be stored in the refrigerator three to five days or frozen one to two months. Keep your refrigerator at 40 °F or less and your freezer at or near 0 °F.

How long does packet ham last in the fridge once opened? ›

Properly stored, an opened package of ham deli meat will last for 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator. How long can ham deli meat be left at room temperature? Bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F; ham deli meat should be discarded if left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature.

How do you store ham after opening? ›

Remove the sliced ham from its packing and place it on top of the paper towel. Place another piece of folded paper towel on top of the ham, close the container firmly and place in the fridge. As a guide shaved or sliced ham should last three to five days in the fridge. You can also freezer your sliced and whole hams.

Can you eat lunch meat after 7 days? ›

It's generally fine to consume prepackaged lunch meat seven to 10 days after the sell-by date. Once open, however, it should be eaten within five days. Freshly sliced deli meat should also be eaten within five days.

What does spoiled ham look like? ›

Green or gray discoloration Fresh ham is a shade of pink and the fat is white (if there's a glaze it'll be darker shade or brown). When ham starts to go bad, it will typically turn gray, green, or even blue.

Why do you soak a ham bag in vinegar? ›

Soak your ham bag (or a brand new pillowcase) in a mixture of water and vinegar for 2 - 3 minutes. Roughly, 1 litre of water to 1/4 cup vinegar. Pop your ham in the bag and then in the fridge. This will keep your ham moist and fresh 1 - 2 weeks.

Should I freeze ham before Thanksgiving? ›

The short answer is yes. Freezing ham is a great way to make sure you won't waste any of that delicious meat you invested so much time (and money) into preparing for the family.

Can you eat cooked ham after 5 days? ›

How Long Is Leftover Ham Good For? Leftover ham, meaning ham that's already been opened and heated for a meal such as a spiral ham, smoked ham, baked ham, or cured ham is typically good for an average of 3-5 days if stored properly in the refrigerator. Or it can be kept in the freezer for up to 2 months.


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