Shrimp like to breathe, otherwise they start to get smelly. To avoid foul seafood, you’ll first want to store your shrimp in the coldest part of your fridge. If the shrimp was purchased in a bag, open the bag and place a paper towel over the top. Proceed to transfer the bag to a bowl of ice. The shrimp should be okay to use for up to two days.
1 of 9
Next: How to Freeze Shrimp
For maximum shelf life, freeze raw shrimp with their heads removed, but shells still intact. Package the shrimp in freezer bags leaving about a quarter of an inch of space at the top. Frozen shrimp can last from three to six months before needing to be discarded.
2 of 9
Like fish, frozen shrimp should either be left in the refrigerator overnight or thawed in a bowl of cold water. Never re-freeze shrimp. Most seafood is usually frozen prior to arriving at the grocery store and you don’t want to freeze it for a second time.
3 of 9
Hams like to sweat, so it’s important to not wrap hams firmly in plastic or foil to allow a level of circulation. For ham slices, take an airtight container and place a paper towel or sheet of wax paper on the bottom. Place the ham into the lined container and top with another paper towel or sheet of wax paper. Swap the papers when damp and the ham will last three to five days.
For whole, bone-in hams, place the entire dish in a ham bag or cover with a thin dish rag. Both should be soaked in water with two tablespoons of white vinegar to preserve freshness, though it’s obviously ideal to cut the ham into smaller pieces and store using the methods above.
4 of 9
The first thing you need to do is cut your ham into smaller pieces. Breaking down a ham will allow the meat to freeze easier and prevent the production of freezer burn. Place the pieces into a freezer bag and rid the bag of any excess air. Some experts recommend sucking the air out with a straw before sealing. This will ensure that it’s as close to vacuum-packed as possible. Since the ham is cooked, you should consume it within two months of freezing.
5 of 9
Frozen ham, especially one that’s been cut into smaller pieces, can be easily thawed in the microwave. To speed up the process, the bag of meat can also be placed in a bowl of room-temperature water.
6 of 9
Pork fares best in the freezer if packaged with freezer-friendly materials like waxed paper, aluminum foil, or heavy-duty plastic bags.
Wrap any meat tightly so that air does not escape and freeze at 0°F. Generally, fresh cuts of pork can last up to six months, while ground pork can last up to three.
7 of 9
Pork is easiest to thaw when placed in the refrigerator in its original wrapping. Small roasts will take three to five hours per pound, while larger roasts can take up to seven hours per pound. Thawing ground pork depends entirely on the thickness of its packaging.
It is safe to cook frozen or partially-frozen pork, but its cooking time may take 50 percent longer. Frozen pork should not be cooked in a slow cooker.
8 of 9
Sealed pork products can typically last in the fridge for two to four days, with ground pork having a slightly shorter shelf life at one to three. Ham or other smoked pork products like bacon can be stored for up to a week, though this only applies to products that aren’t vacuum sealed or prepared with preservatives. The latter can obviously last a lot longer.
9 of 9
Next: How to Store Shrimp
Shrimp and ham are a classic pairing, but this gumbo contains little else that’s traditional. While most gumbos are thickened with roux and flavored with the “Cajun Trinity” of bell peppers, onions, and celery, this gumbo has neither, proving that sometimes shaking up tradition can be a good thing.
What to buy: Some grocery stores carry shell-on shrimp that are deveined, meaning the intestinal tract that runs up the back of each shimp has been removed. Deveining is optional in this recipe, but if prefer it, you may need to clean the shrimp yourself.
Fresh okra works best in this dish, acting as the thickener, but you can also use frozen sliced okra. When cooking it, especially the fresh variety, don’t be alarmed by the glutinous clear liquid it emits, which is normal. Some cooks add a touch of vinegar to cut the slime; younger, smaller pods have less of it.
Tasso is cured pork, usually shoulder, that’s rubbed with a mixture of filé and other spices, then smoked. It’s a Cajun specialty that adds a lot of character to this dish, but if you have a hard time finding it, you can substitute pancetta or another variety of ham; or get it online from CajunGrocer.com.
Read more about gumbo.