Due to the sudden price increase in daily food necessities, it is understandable if we all want to learn how to freeze chicken. After all, we won’t want to waste such precious goods.
Keep reading this post to learn more about freezing raw and cooked chickens. We also answered some important questions when doing the said food hack!
Why is freezing chicken important?
Freezing, as we all know, is the most convenient way to preserve food in general, not just chicken meat. But we are not looking for convenience alone. We need profound reasons why we should freeze chickens, and that we will give you!
Here are the 3 reasons why you should freeze your chicken.
Safety must always be our priority. We are sure you won’t want to save money yet simultaneously endanger yourself or your family!
Freezing chicken helps slow the growth of bacteria and other organisms in the meat. Its primary purpose is to avoid early spoilage. Chemical changes slow down when you freeze chicken.
However, it would help if you still were careful since freezing doesn’t totally eradicate microorganisms. That’s why safety measures are still required when unfreezing. You should also be aware of how long you should freeze chickens.
Contracting foodborne illnesses like Salmonella infection– common in chickens, will lessen if you freeze and cook it thoroughly.
If done correctly, the quality of a frozen chicken doesn’t decline much. Remember, freezing cannot improve the quality of the meat, but it can maintain it. You only have to follow the right way of freezing chickens.
The freezer’s temperature is one of the most critical considerations you should keep in mind. Typically, the temperature is 0 degrees Fahrenheit and below.
Considering the initial quality of the meat also helps. Make sure that the chicken you bought is in its peak condition.
Lastly, freezing chicken is economical, it could save you some money! During this pandemic, it is necessary to be wise with money; freezing chicken could help you with that.
Should I rinse the chicken before freezing?
Washing chicken before freezing is not ideal. It may be a harsh truth, but it is the truth that we need to save ourselves from the trouble!
Rinsing the chicken with plain water is not good because it usually causes more bacteria. Cross-contamination is also a possibility if you do this.
What you should do is either leave the chicken alone or rinse it with an acidic solution. We recommend the latter since it will ensure that the chicken is free from dirt and blood traces.
If you like to take our suggestion, you must wash the chicken with acid first. You can use home products like vinegar and lime juice for it. After, wash the chicken with plain water and let it dry before freezing.
Again, whether it is marinating, cooking, or freezing, the chicken should not be washed with plain water alone. What’s best is to cook the meat intensively.
How to freeze raw chicken?
Freezing a raw chicken is a basic task. But, you should carefully pick the materials you will use.
- Prepare the chicken – If the chicken is newly bought, you must first remove it from its initial plastic. Remove the fats and any unwanted parts of the chicken based on your preference. Do not wash the chicken.
- Choose and prepare a new container – In other countries, it is customary to use unused Tupperware when freezing a chicken. But ideally, people should take advantage of shrink wraps and freezer bags since they are more appropriate for freezing. Once you choose where to put the chicken, you must check if it has holes or if you can close it tightly.
- Put the chicken inside the container or bag – If you put a whole chicken in a freezer bag, the feet should face the bag’s opening and not the other way around. If the chicken is divided into pieces, you shouldn’t put them all in just one bag or container. Adding another wrap, like wax paper, to each piece is also recommended.
- Release air – To avoid chicken freezer burn, it is necessary to release the air for less contact. This is the part where using the appropriate bags for freezing will have an effect. You can use vacuum packaging or shrink-wrap packaging. Either way, it is okay if the chicken is not exposed to air.
- Write the date of the packaging – This easy step will help you not to get confused. So make sure to write the date correctly for references.
- Freeze the chickens – Lastly, put the ready-to-freeze chickens inside the freezer! You can stock whole chickens for a year, while the ones in parts can last for 9 months.
How to freeze cooked chicken?
Learning how to freeze a cooked chicken is an essential skill nowadays. Not only it is cost-efficient, but also time efficient.
Some circumstances will require you to freeze cooked chicken. Do you have it as leftovers? or do you want to prepare it for your next meal? Whatever it is, this guide can help you!
- Prepare the chicken – If you freeze a leftover chicken, you should refrigerate it for a couple of hours first. Doing this is a great way to make your chicken freezer-ready. Another tip is to shred the chicken. But, if it is a chicken for the next meal, all you need to do is prepare it as it is. Add the seasonings and cook them. Remember that it is best to only half-cook the chicken.
- Prepare the bags – Choose and prepare the bags like you would if it is raw chicken. Nothing fancy; just make sure it has no holes and is clean. Shrink wraps or using an airtight container is also an advantage. You should also prepare some wax paper or parchment paper because you’ll need it if the chicken is in pieces.
- Let it cool – You cannot immediately put the cooked chicken inside the bags. Temperature is a crucial factor. Let the chicken cool at room temperature.
- Bag the chicken – It is now time to put the chicken inside the bags. It is best to fill the pack if it is a shredded chicken. For chickens cut into pieces, wrap them using wax or parchment paper. After wrapping, you can place it in one bag if you prefer.
- Write the date of the packaging – Writing the dates when you started freezing is essential. That way, you won’t lose track of time. Cooked chickens can last up to 2 to 6 months when frozen in the right conditions.
- Freeze it – You can now freeze the chicken! Follow the “first in, first out” principle.
Feel free to watch this video of a mom preparing to freeze a grilled chicken:
Raw or cooked: What’s the best chicken to freeze?
Although freezing chickens is really a good technique, there are some considerations we need to take when freezing raw and cooked meats.
Some people may wonder what is the best chicken to freeze. If you are one of them, keep on reading!
Raw chickens are the best chickens to freeze. Simply because uncooked chickens last longer (usually a year) than cooked ones.
Cooked chickens already have their own spoilage date since they are already cooked! And freezing cannot do something about that. The only thing that this process could do is prevent the growth of microorganisms and not avoid them.
In addition, you can only thaw cooked chickens once. Although there are some exceptions, that is still the rule of thumb when freezing chickens.
Do not be discouraged, though, because freezing cooked chicken is still possible. It’s just that doing it with raw ones would always be a better choice.
How do I unfreeze chicken?
Freezing and thawing chickens are indeed different from each other. For this part, we will tell you 3 ways to unfreeze your chicken.
The first one is the basic yet not-so-fast method– using cold water. If you do this, ensure you have plenty of time to spare since it will take at least 30 minutes to finish thawing.
The second one is the easiest but not-so-the-best method. Microwaving a frozen chicken might cause uneven unfrozen parts in the chicken.
Lastly, it is highly recommended because it is the safest method. Refrigerating the chicken after freezing is the way to preserve the quality of the meat.
However, the refrigerator method would require at least a day to finish. That’s why you need to plan ahead.
Have you learned how to freeze chicken? We hope you did since it is a helpful skill in times of crisis. It has many advantages.
Follow the exact procedures and watch the videos we gave for references; you are all set! No more worries if you need to prepare a meal ahead of time or if you have chicken leftovers.