Toilet paper, diapers, chicken. sometimes it just makes sense to buy in bulk. The latter two are eternal, but poultry? Not so much. Friends, we have the answer to that question—and it’s good news for you and your “family pack” of chicken thighs—so let’s get that out of the way before you bring home a large haul of this dinner staple.
I may be listening to my mom’s clipped-coupon voice in my head, but I adore a good grocery deal.
Freezer burn occurs when thousands of water molecules within a piece of meat—or ice cream, or vegetable—form small ice crystals. According to the Science Reference Section of the Library of Congress, these crystals seek out the most hospitable (read: coldest) part of their environment, which is usually the side of a piece of food nearest to the freezer wall. As these ice crystals migrate out of the food, they draw moisture with them. The result is a piece of food that’s dry and unappetizing—but still safe to eat.
“Oh, these chicken breasts? On sale for $2 per pound,” I say, reveling in the impressed nods as my friends take another bite of herb-and-feta-stuffed chicken.
I do have to prepare ahead of time when I want to cook with frozen chicken. Although it takes longer, defrosting meat in the refrigerator is much safer than defrosting it on a counter. For every 4 pounds of bird, ATK recommends allowing 24 hours for defrosting in the refrigerator. According to how I recall it, “a whole day for a whole chicken” ”.
Freezer burn is only a quality issue, not a safety one, according to Paul Adams, senior science research editor at ATK. “Moisture leaves the food’s surface, drying it out and frequently leaving it with strange off-flavors and texture. “.
Do you have to package chicken a specific way to prevent freezer burn?
“The best method would be to vacuum-seal, as this removes air from the packaging and seals the bag,” says Sidoti. “If you dont have the right equipment for this method, you can also place the chicken breasts in freezer bags and manually push out as much air as possible before zipping them shut.”
If you’re not confident using your hands, Chef White suggests another approach.
White advises that all the air must be expelled before sealing, either manually or using the water displacement method, for the best outcomes. In order to use the water displacement method, you must put the chicken in a freezer bag, submerge the bag up to the seal, expel all air, and then seal the bag. “.
However, he also agrees with Sidoti and says that vacuum-sealing the chicken is your best bet at preventing freezer burn. Do you know why freezer burn happens? Sidoti explains that its the process that occurs when the chicken is exposed to air, undergoing dehydration. Foods that have experienced freezer burn are safe to eat, but they likely wont taste as good.
White continues, “Freezer bags would be another way to store chicken in the freezer.” Chicken can also be frozen in its original grocery store packaging. I advise you to wrap the package in aluminum foil to add an additional layer of security. “.
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How to Tell If Your Frozen Chicken Is Still Good
It is extremely unlikely that your frozen chicken will be contaminated if your chicken was still fresh when you placed it in the freezer (and your freezer is functioning properly). But when you’re defrosting, things can go wrong (best practices are listed below), so it’s crucial to know how to spot spoiled poultry just in case. The USDA states that because of the high bacterial counts, “Spoilage bacteria can cause meat or poultry to turn a dark color, develop an objectionable odor, and become slimy.” Conclusion: It’s best to avoid taking a chance if your chicken smells strange, looks sickly gray-green, or feels unusually slick after thawing.
It’s good news that freezing raw chicken is surprisingly easy. Actually, all you need to do is place your poultry in a freezer-safe container and seal it. Chicken (or any meat, for that matter) shouldn’t be kept in the front or door of your freezer because these areas can experience temperature fluctuations. Instead, tuck your sealed poultry in the back so that it can last as long as possible safe and fresh.
How long can you freeze raw chicken breast?
If frozen properly, raw chicken can be kept indefinitely, but the USDA advises using it within a year if it is whole and within nine months if it has been cut into parts.
How long can frozen chicken breasts be in freezer?
Whole chickens can be frozen for up to a year after being initially stored, and individual pieces of raw chicken can be kept in the freezer for up to nine months.
How long after buying chicken Can I freeze it?
The short answer is. forever. The USDA claims that chicken can be kept indefinitely if it is kept at a constant temperature of zero degrees Fahrenheit. (Hint: That’s how cold your freezer should be. ).
Is frozen chicken breast still good after 2 years?
A. Yes, the chicken would be safe to eat as long as it was fresh when it was frozen and has stayed completely frozen ever since. However, it may not be very tasty.