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On the back of the packs of sliced ham I buy it usually says “once opened eat within x days”. I often find that I have ham left over that needs to be eaten, that I’d prefer to save for another day.

How can I reseal my large packs of ham in to smaller packs of ham?

I wonder whether a vacuum sealer is okay for meats? (I don’t have one yet)

I’d also like to buy bigger packs of bacon and reseal them into smaller packs - maybe other meats too, sliced or not.

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  • This does beg the question of whether that x days is about quality or safety. I'm inclined to think the former, but with a safety-related cutoff not far behind there's not much difference.
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 15:40
  • @ChrisH Safety. Perhaps quality too, but they degrade together. I've had an unpleasant experience without even reaching the date. Wet meat gets toxic fast. Dry beef cuts can store for a month, but ham has so much water in it that it spoils in hours, a fridge delays it to a day or two.
    – Therac
    Commented Nov 19, 2023 at 9:14

3 Answers 3

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The only sensible way is put them into the freezer:

Shortly after purchase, package it into lots that are suitable for eating within a couple of days of thawing. Place packets into a freezer and thaw as needed.

I find that this tends to cause a bit of leakage of water out of the ham, though this is strongly dependent on the quality of the ham and processing method used to make the ham.

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  • 1
    +1 - the water leaking out is because the manufacturer pumps the meat with water (among other things, read this little appetiser: dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2521119/…)
    – j4nd3r53n
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 11:05
  • This is also what I do as my daughter eats a little ham and I don't eat meat. It is best used within a few weeks though, with "few" greater for less added water.
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 15:38
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    @j4nd3r53n While I'm sure this is right, I don't think I'd accept the Daily Mail as an authority on… well, anything, really.  Is there a better-supported link?
    – gidds
    Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 10:54
  • @gidds My comment was really meant with a bit of a twinkle in the eye; I just googled it and picked the worst source. The single 'merit' of the Daily Mail is that they are so sensationalist; I'll see if I can get a more more reliable link.
    – j4nd3r53n
    Commented Nov 19, 2023 at 15:52
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    @gidds How about this one: sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924224419302006
    – j4nd3r53n
    Commented Nov 19, 2023 at 16:05
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Freezing is the way to go, but vacuum sealing into packages each of which you can use within a few days might be an efficient use of freezer space. It's not an efficient use of plastic, so I freeze ham in boxes, with reusable non-stick cooking liner in between the slices (I cut some to size for this). That means you can take out as little as you want.

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  • +1 for the tip to separate with wax paper or parchment. Sometimes I get sliced Havarti from the deli like this & throw it in the freezer. Since I only use it in grilled cheese sandwiches, I'm not worried about texture & the paper means I can peel off just enough for the current meal. Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 19:41
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My personal experience is any surface that gets in contact with air must be consumed within that time period. The rest of the piece stays fresh.

So what i do is slice the piece with its wrapping on, no peeling. Then place it in a plastic bag and make it stick to the surface i just cut, removing all air bubbles, and direct to the fridge. And remember to eat the next slice before those 2 or 3 days as noted in the packaging.

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    But it's already sliced (and therefore not wrapped the way you're used to)
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 15:38

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