Ham has a high moisture content relative to many other meats, which means that frozen ham is often watery. While this water can normally be wiped away, watery ham may indicate bacterial infection or improper storage. But you can use several different tricks to lessen the likelihood of frozen ham becoming watery.
Lower-quality hams typically contain lots of water, which can cause them to be mushy when they come out of the freezer. Choose high-quality ham with low moisture content by comparing packaging labels of several brands.
Ham that is vacuum packed is not exposed to air that causes condensation. Vacuum-packed ham will also stay fresh longer because bacteria and other pathogens have fewer opportunities to grow. Many specialty stores sell vacuum-packaging machines. Simply follow the directions and your ham will be less watery.
Cooked ham is less likely to become watery because much of the moisture has been heated away. It’s safe to freeze cooked ham as long as it has not been frozen before. Cook the ham and slice it, then store in the freezer for up to about two months.
Watery ham is sometimes caused by improper storage that has led to freezer burn, which produces moisture as the meat thaws. Certain strains of bacteria can also form biofilms on ham, resulting in a slimy texture. Package ham tightly in aluminum foil, then place it in a sealed plastic container. This decreases the chances of freezer burn and bacteria overgrowth. If the ham’s texture is slimy rather than watery, throw it out.
References and Resources"Biology: Life on Earth with Physiology, 9th Edition"; Gerald Audesirk, Teresa Audesirk, Bruce E. Byers; 2010
"Not Your Mother's Food Storage"; Kathy Bray and Jan Barker; 2010
"The Ham Book"; Monette R. Harrell and Robert W. Harrell; 1978