On Christmas Day it’s easy to look at that the glistening glaze on the mouthwatering Christmas ham and think that there is no way that anything will be leftover – but to our surprise every single year we end up with more ham than we can shake a stick at. This leaves us confronted with the big question: what do you do with leftover Christmas ham?
Thankfully, our Test Kitchen experts are no strangers to all things Christmas ham, from how to choose a ham for your Christmas feast, to glazing and cooking your Christmas ham, and even how to cut your baked Christmas ham. And, after the big day is over and the dishes are licked clean – how to store your Christmas ham in the fridge, and recipes for helping you make short work of the Christmas ham leftovers.
How to keep leftover Christmas ham in the fridge:
The biggest challenge with storing leftover Christmas ham is keeping the meat from drying out. For this reason, it’s important to only carve as much Christmas ham as you need during your meal, because meat left on the ham bone will stay juicy for longer than slices of carved meat.
To store ham on the bone it needs to be wrapped in a seasoned cloth. Ideally, a clean tea towel, a clean pillowcase, large piece of calico fabric, or a purpose-made ham bag. Rinse your cloth of choice in a solution of two cups white vinegar and two litres of water and allow it to dry before wrapping the whole ham in the fabric before storing in the fridge.
Of course, around Christmas it can be hard to find room in the fridge to accommodate a whole ham leg. If this is the case, you can remove the meat from the bone in large chunks and store, wrapped in plastic and then foil, in the fridge or freezer.
How long does Christmas ham last?
Christmas ham stored in the fridge, either on the bone or carved off and wrapped in plastic and foil, will keep perfectly well for up to two weeks.
Ham wrapped in plastic and foil and then frozen will last in the freezer for up to a month. Defrost frozen ham in the fridge for 1-2 days (depending on the size of the frozen portions) before eating.
What to do with leftover Christmas ham:
While at first glance, making use of the enormous leftover ham taking up half of your fridge space might seem like a ridiculous undertaking, it is realistic and easy to make use of your leftover Christmas ham without any going to waste.
Thankfully ham is welcome at pretty much every meal. For breakfast your leftover ham is a delicious addition to eggs Benedict, a baked ham and cheese frittata, or on a breakfast bagel with avocado, ham and cheese.
You can also discover all the amazing ways leftover Christmas ham can partner with delicious baby peas. The most obvious leftover Christmas ham recipe is, arguably, pea and ham soup but you can also make pea and ham brown rice salad, or this summer spaghetti with peas and ham.