Hi gang, On Saturday, I have to attend a funeral. I'm going to prepare a ham for the dinner. I've had a Smithfield ham in my freezer since Thanksgiving and just pulled it out yesterday (Sunday). Here's the dilemmas: 1 - The package says to use by February, 2013. This is not September, 2013. Is it safe to eat? 2 - What's the best way to defrost i? To speed up time, is it advisable to defrost in a pot of cold water, either inside the fridge or on the counter? Again, I need this 8.89lb ham fully defrosted by Friday night for the funeral dinner on Saturday. I hate to throw away a big piece of meat like that but then again, I don't want to possibly cause others to get sick. Thanks for the advice!