When it comes to ham salad, I always become a bit greedy and make much more than I can eat at the moment, which is a problem as it is highly perishable. And that’s exactly what happened to me yesterday. Since I was full after eating half of it, I needed to preserve the rest. And I just hate throwing out food. So, I needed the perfect preservation method. But can you freeze ham salad?
Although freezing ham salad is possible, it isn’t encouraged. While ham and pasta salad will be like fresh when thawed, lettuce-based ham salad will lose its crispiness. So, you can freeze it by following a few important steps to ensure it will be in the best possible shape when you decide to defrost it.
Freezing ham salad may not be the best way to use up your ham salad leftovers, but it is a way to preserve it. Doing everything right may give you a few more delicious encounters with your ham salad. In the following paragraphs, I will give you a few tips on how to freeze ham salad and defrost it so you can enjoy it for the longest time.
How to Freeze Ham Salad?
The freezing process of your ham salad starts with making the salad. I have learned my lesson — it’s best to plan ahead and decide right away how much you will eat and if there will be anything to freeze. This is because ham salad is the tastiest when freshly made or frozen immediately after.
The longer it has been sitting, the more its ingredients will separate once frozen. Also, the choice of ingredients will determine if freezing your ham salad is a good idea.
For example, you won’t have any unwanted results when freezing pasta-based ham salad. However, leafy greens don’t come out of the freezer in the same form as they were fresh. For this reason, don’t freeze lettuce-based ham salad. I’ve tried it — it’s edible, but it’s miles away from fresh, crispy, and tasty.
This is exactly what I’m talking about:
Since I’ve been there, I know it’s easy to make a mistake, so follow all the steps listed below to get the best possible results. It is very unlikely that your ham salad will return to its former glory when defrosted, but if you do everything right, it will give you a satisfactory outcome.
The first thing you need is an airtight container, and this is non-negotiable. The container has to be larger so that you have approximately two fingers of free space between the top of the salad and the lit. As the salad freezes, it will expand, and too little space squeezes the salad between the container’s lid, bottom, and walls.
After pouring the salad into the container, ensure there aren’t any holes inside and that the top is nicely evened out. The holes in the salad contain moisture, which, after freezing, turns into ice. So, when you defrost it, your salad will be runny and watery.
Before closing the airtight container, you need to clean the rim with a towel so that the seal works as it should. Having even the thinnest layer of mayonnaise or the smallest bit of salad on the rims may prevent the seal from working, allowing air to penetrate the salad.
Finally, before placing the salad in the freezer, ensure the temperature is 0 °C, i.e., 32 °F. Anything lower than that will freeze your ham salad beyond recovery. Place the ham salad container inside the freezer, and make sure you don’t put anything on top, risking the container breaking.
Can You Freeze Ham Salad With Mayonnaise?
Salads containing substantial amounts of oil and mayonnaise don’t do well when frozen, as the fat from the mayonnaise and oil separates from the rest of the salad. When you thaw the salad afterward, it is nearly impossible to homogenize it again, which creates the need to add more mayonnaise/oil, likely resulting in an overly fatty salad.
Nevertheless, if push comes to shove, freezing a ham salad with mayonnaise is always better than throwing it out. However, if you can put the leftover ham salad to better use, do that instead of freezing it.
Follow the steps listed below and always use an airtight container, especially in the case of a ham salad with mayonnaise.
Can You Freeze Ham Salad With Eggs in It?
When it comes to freezing food, especially cream salads, the dryer the salad, the better it freezes. Yes, you can freeze ham salad with eggs, provided they are hard-boiled. However, a dry cream salad is not what you are looking for, so make sure that you don’t add to the mandatory moisture level by adding soft-boiled eggs to your ham salad.
How to Thaw Ham Salad?
To defrost your ham salad well, place it in the fridge after you remove it from the freezer. This way, you will give your ham salad enough time to adjust to a slightly higher temperature without getting runny. Let the ham salad thaw in the freezer and stir it from time to time to ensure that all the parts thaw equally fast.
Thawing ham salad is most successful when done gradually. Also, remember that ham salad is supposed to be chilled, so don’t use the microwave, the oven, or any other similar appliance you normally use to defrost food. Placing the container in hot or warm water is also not a good option.
Have you ever used the freezer to preserve a salad? I would love to know how it went in the comments below!