Chicken is a food item that people of all ages love and enjoy. It is among the most versatile meat items and tastes good with almost anything. From the youngest member of the family to the oldest one, chicken is everyone’s comfort food. Because of its popularity, people often try and store it in fridges and freezers for long periods.
Chicken is no doubt delicious, but it is susceptible to bacterial growth like any other raw item. Most people want to know if they can freeze the chicken for long periods because nobody likes to run to the store when they are short on chicken. Buying chicken in bulk quantity is what a lot of us do, but the real question is, is it safe to eat chicken that has been in the freezer for a month or two?
Let’s make our way towards the answer to this question and look at how to safely store the chicken so that you don’t have to travel all the way to the store whenever you are in the mood for a chicken dinner.
How Long Can Chicken Be Frozen?
A simple and to the point answer to this question is “A long, long time.” According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), chicken can safely be frozen for an indefinite amount of time. As per their research:
- You can freeze a whole raw chicken for up to a year,
- Parts of the chicken for about 9 months,
- 3 to 4 months for grounded chicken,
- Chicken covered in something such as gravy or broth can be stored in the freezer for 6 months,
- Cooked chicken for 4 months after that the taste will begin to deteriorate,
- Breaded chicken such as chicken nuggets can be stored for 1 to 3 months.
Chickens don’t necessarily have an expiration date, so as long as they are kept at a consistent 0-degree temperature, they are safe to eat for much longer than expected.
You can buy your chicken in bulk and store it in the freezer. The best thing to do is buy the chicken for a month and freeze it. You will eventually have to make a run to the store to stock up your groceries, and while you are there, you can restock your chicken as well.
How to Properly Freeze Chicken?
There is not much science behind freezing the chicken, and frankly, it is quite straightforward. You can put your chicken in an airtight container or a zip lock bag before placing it at the back of the freezer for a more constant temperature. Just leave it in, and you are good to go.
Make sure your freezer is working at all times. If you ever face any issue with your freezer, transfer your chicken to some other cold place or probably your neighbor’s freezer before it starts to go bad.
How to Properly Defrost the Chicken?
Place it in the refrigerator
This method is among the tried and tested ones, but it requires a lot of time. This is not ideal for quick defrosting because you have to take the chicken out of the freezer and keep it in the refrigerator about 24 hours before eating.
This method is preferred because you are moderately changing the temperature of the chicken, and it will remain in a cold environment until cooking.
The microwave is a life-saving invention. Most of us in our childhood have experienced the fear when we hear our mother’s car honk outside the house, and we forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer as she advised before leaving the house.
Using the microwave to defrost the chicken is quick and efficient. You just have to place the chicken in the microwave (make sure the container is microwave safe) and run it on the defrost setting to thaw the chicken properly.
Use Cold Water
Another fairly quick method of defrosting the chicken is submerging it in the cold water. Simply take your frozen chicken and place it in a pot filled with cold water. Keep the chicken submerged for quicker results.
This method will take about 3 hours to defrost a whole chicken and around 1 hour to defrost smaller pieces. Keep changing the water to keep it cold at all times. Also, do not use warm water for quicker results as warm water can increase the chances of bacteria formations.
Please make sure to use this chicken once it’s thawed and avoid re-freezing it.
So, there you have it. You have now become an expert in storing chicken in the freezer and defrosting it whenever you crave a fried chicken. No more running to the store to buy fresh chicken each time. You can just buy the amount you will consume and freeze it.
Meet me; I am Paulina Zaniewska, who’s more hooked on providing the best health blog. I’ve always been so determined to compete as a nutritionist, and here I am, done with a Master’s in food technology. My brilliant performance throughout encouraged me to help people.