Ham is perishable food. The safety of the culinary Christmas feast can be ensured through good hygiene, cooking the ham throughout, and correct handling and storage.
Handle ham with clean hands and utensils
Always wash and dry your hands before handling the ham. The utensils and cutting boards used shall also be clean. Use separate utensils to handle uncooked and cooked meat.
A ham purchased as frozen can be stored at a freezing temperature (-18 ºC) until the best before date, at least. Thaw the frozen Christmas ham in the refrigerator at a temperature of max. + 6 degrees. Cook the ham as soon as possible after thawing.
Storing the ham at room temperature will result in quick multiplication of bacteria, which may cause food poisoning. The stores that sell Christmas hams will provide instructions for thawing and preparation, which the customers should observe.
If you store uncooked or cooked ham outdoors, cover it carefully. An increase in the outdoor temperature will quickly cause bacteria to multiply in the ham, shortening the storage life of the ham. If the ham becomes frozen, liquid will later ooze out of the meat as it thaws.
Cook the ham thoroughly
The ham shall be cooked to a temperature of at least +75 degrees. All pathogenic bacteria, including MRSA bacteria, are destroyed at this temperature. Use a meat thermometer during cooking.
Cool the cooked ham as quickly as possible before placing it in the refrigerator. You can cool it outdoor, for example, provided the ham is properly covered.
Only put out one serving of ham at a time
Only remove enough food from the refrigerator for one serving. In terms of hygiene, it is safer to cut enough slices of ham into a serving dish rather than place the whole ham on the warm table.
Dispose of any leftovers kept at room temperature. Do not mix old and new food together.
Store ham cold
Perishable foods require cold storage to ensure they are safe to eat. Store the ham in the coldest part of the refrigerator, under a cover. The storage temperature of ham may not exceed +6 degrees at any point.
The ham should be finished within one week, or by the New Year.