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Old 01-15-2007, 07:39 PM   #1
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Sick Ham Question?

I received an unexpect gift during the holidays, a 3-4 lb spiral ham. It was cold when I got it and I placed it in the refrigerator. I thought that we would just use it for sandwiches and snacks (cooking individual portions as wanted).

The next day I unwrapped it and placed it in a 2 gallon size ziploc baggie. I noticed that the outside was rough and gritty and I believed this was just probably a primer glaze thing added by the company. I didn't see any mold discoloration. The spiral layers also had a normal fresh ham appearance. (I never freeze or store parishable gifts).

I always squeeze the air out of my plastic baggies and burp my bowls...etc.
I placed the baggie containing the ham in a large dish and set it in the refrigerator. The next morning I noticed that the bag was filled with air.

Thinking that possibly somebody had opened it, I resealed the bag after pushing the air out. By mid morning, the bag was full of air.

Not knowing how this ham had been stored etc before it reached my house, I just threw it away.

How can you tell if a cured product like ham or luncheon meat etc are spoiled?

My motto is: if ever in doubt, through it out. Food is just too cheap to make people sick.

The person who gave us this ham is someone that I do not know very well.

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Old 01-15-2007, 07:58 PM   #2
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The person who gave us this ham is someone that I do not know very well.

But bears you no grudge, I hope.

I've always noticed a slight or even strong odor and sometimes a greenish tinge to cured meats that have gone bad. But others may be able to give you a more definitive answer. I just think that your motto is spot on. I'm not one who would feel comfortable if I have even the slightest doubt about whether a food item is spoiled.
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Old 01-15-2007, 08:28 PM   #3
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When I was a child, my mom and dad had a small corner grocery store, I can remember my dad, calling differnt providers and having them pick up swollen milk or juice containers, so, whenever I see any container that is swollen, I toss it..You can never be to careful with food. I think you did the right thing with that ham.

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Old 01-15-2007, 11:29 PM   #4
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Stir, I too agree. No meat should be producing gas like that.

About a year ago would have been surprised. Have kept cured pork for fairly long times in the fridge and they are pretty hardy meats. After all, the purpose of curing is largely to preserve the meat. As an example, about here can go any market and find the room temperature Smithfield-type hams (which are just great). They last forever just hanging there.

Then, last spring we were on our way home and passed a market which was selling locally raised free range chickens. Went in to take a gander.

At $4.99/lb we decided the free range chicks must have been riding about in chauffered limosines and not just pecking stuff from the ground, and passed.

But did pick up some cured ham hocks for soup, or a mess of greens, or for something. They were tightly wrapped and seemed just fine on the checkout line.

Got home, opened the package, and well, we lost no time in going to the dump. (Would have cost more in gas than they were worth to return them to the store, and getting rid of that smell, which we did not pick up while the stuff was wrapped, was well worth the 7 minute drive to the dumpster).

Could not believe they could have been so tightly wrapped and so clearly off. Someone in the market must have almost hurled while rewrapping them. Needless to say will not go back to the place even if they decide the free range chickens should given away like balloons at a car dealer sale.

Don't know what they did to those hocks to get them so foul, they were still within the 'expiration date'. Have had many cured pork products in the fridge for several weeks with absolutely no suggestion of a problem or degradation in quality.

Maybe the offensive hocks were left out at room temperature for awhile. But for that degree of degradation it would have had to have been a long while, maybe in the Sahara desert at mid summer..

But I guess my point, am sorry for taking so long to get to one, is that cured pork products can go bad.

With smoked hocks one might have to go out of one's way to let it happen, but it can occur.

But I cannot think of any reason why a piece of pork should be giving off gas and not be spoiled.
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Old 01-16-2007, 11:16 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by auntdot
Stir, I too agree. No meat should be producing gas like that.


Tell that to my spicy pulled pork!

Seriously, meat giving off gas like that is a very bad sign. IMO toss it.
Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
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Old 01-16-2007, 02:11 PM   #6
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You threw it away??? Before finding out what type of ham it was? Attic-cured, smokehouse cured, etc.,etc. Do you know, or can you find out, where the ham came from?

"Burgers Smokehouse", which produces outrageously fabuolous hams from serious "country-aged" to those for you wimpy city folk (lol), could probably answer your questions. Their customer service is excellent, & I'm sure they'd answer your question even if the ham wasn't purchased from them.

While I'm definitely not a fan of food poisoning, I would never toss out a whole ham without first contacting the vendor & asking about it. Geesh.

From what I've purchased in the past, you probably threw away at least $50 worth of great ham simply because you didn't bother to find out anything about it. How sad.

I'm assuming the folks who posted lauding you tossing the ham know ALL about cured hams?
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Old 01-16-2007, 03:04 PM   #7
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LOL!!! I think the problem is with the different types & their regions.

Here in Virginia there are truly AGED Smithfield hams, semi-aged hams, ham bits, biscuit cuts, jowls, seasonig pieces, boiled hams & their cuts. Geez - Virginia is like a little ham country (Virginia isn't south enough to be REAL ham country - lol!!).
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Old 01-16-2007, 05:07 PM   #8
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BreezyCooking: If it makes you feel any better, it didn't go out by itself. There was lots of company in that bag.
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Old 02-08-2007, 05:31 AM   #9
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you've got me wondering - I just assumed that a good, cured ham was really resilent and unlikely to spoil. I've had a ham open in the fridge for about a week, eating off of it here and there for breakfast, or a sandwich or the like. Am I going to run into a problem? I'm sure it's not bad yet, because I ate two sandwiches today... but there must be a chance that i'm gambling a little bit here.
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Old 02-08-2007, 03:28 PM   #10
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I think that the ham (an unexpected gift) that I received had not been refrigerated properly by the person who gave it to me.
I have never had a problem with a ham that I purchased. Like you, I keep a ham in the refrigerator and use it for sandwiches, snacks, omlets ...etc.
When I buy a ham that is a good price for a large one, the butcher for free will slice it, cube it, grind it. He will bring you 3 to 4 packages. Maybe one pkg is a deli slice, another is a steak slice, chunky cubes, ground for ham salad. If there is a bone, he will package that too. And you still get the sale price!
I have never ever had a bad ham before this so I really do think it was improper storeage in the begining.
Enjoy your sandwich.....you are making me hungry.....
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