Cooked beans can easily be placed into pre-portioned freezer bags for easy storage. Be sure to date the plastic bags with a permanent marker and consume within six months.
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Remove your frozen bags from the freezer and place directly in a saucepan with warm water. You can also run the bag under warm water in the sink. Toss some of the frozen beans into soups and stews, as they will immediately defrost due to the dish's high temperatures.
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Dried beans come in all different colors, shapes, and sizes, though their storage methods stay consistent across the board. Beans should be transferred to a food-safe container with a sealing lid. If beans are left in their original packaging, they'll dry out faster. Place the container in a cool, dry place that is away from any sunlight. You'll want to cook them within a year for ultimate freshness, though some beans have known to last for years.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Next: How to Freeze Beans
Unlike sweeter, molasses-y Boston Baked Beans, these pintos are savory with a bit of heat. Soak the beans overnight and then put them in the slow cooker with beef broth, tomato sauce, chili powder, ancho chile powder, garlic, jalapeño, and a ham hock for some fatty, smoky flavor. Let them cook until softened and saucy, and serve with Cheesy Enchiladas for a Tex-Mex meal.
Game plan: Be sure to soak the beans the night before you plan on making this recipe.
The beans can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw in the refrigerator before reheating over low heat.
This recipe was featured as part of our Slow Cooker Recipes for Hot Summer Days.