How to Store Raw Chicken After Opening
How long does fresh and raw chicken last if stored properly? Is it safe to eat raw poultry once opened? These questions may seem like common sense, but sometimes these simple tasks get overlooked by busy families who just want their food ready fast.
The answer is: It depends on the type of raw meat and how you store your poultry. If you’re looking for easy tips on how to properly store chicken to keep it fresh, then this article has some great tips! But if you are planning ahead or have time constraints, read on for more information about storing cooked chicken safely so you can enjoy delicious meals all week long.
I would also note this applies to leftover chicken. See how to reheat leftover chicken wings.
How to Store Raw Chicken to Keep It Fresh
Here's what you should keep in mind while storing raw chicken:
Raw chicken should be kept refrigerated at 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 C) or below. This temperature helps prevent bacterial growth while also keeping the chicken from spoiling too quickly.
However, when cooking chicken (or even marinated chicken, fried chicken, or chicken broth), temperatures above 167 degrees Fahrenheit (internal temperature) kill harmful bacteria such as salmonella. This bacteria is the number one cause of food poisoning in humans.
If you're not going to cook the chicken right away, make sure to wrap it tightly with plastic wrap before placing it into an airtight container for storage. The wrapping prevents air circulation which allows moisture to build up inside the container. Moisture buildup can cause mold and mildew to grow and bacteria also need it as one of their components to grow and multiply at room temperature. Vacuum sealed chicken helps by removing this and oxygen. You can also use a freezer bag, that has a zip lock sucking the air out before sealing it.
You also need to wash your hands and get rid of all the chicken juice - as it is one of the chicken parts that can easily grow bacteria.
How Do You Store Raw Chicken in the Refrigerator After Opening
There are two ways that you can store uncooked chicken in the refrigerator:
1) Place a piece of wax paper or freezer paper between each layer of fresh chicken pieces. Then place the whole thing back into its original packaging. Make sure to remove any excess air pockets within the airtight packaging.
2) Wrap individual portions of chicken loosely in aluminum foil. Be careful not to overpack because there will be less room for airflow.
When storing raw chicken in the fridge, avoid stacking multiple layers of bags together because that will allow oxygen to circulate between each layer. Instead, stack one bag per shelf. Also, try to rotate your stock regularly to ensure even distribution of heat throughout the entire package.
How to Freeze Leftover Raw Chicken
Freezing leftover raw chicken isn't recommended unless you plan to use it immediately. Freezer burn can occur when frozen items freeze or even thaw out unevenly due to poor handling. When using frozen chicken, always defrost thoroughly first. The best and safest way is to defrost chicken in the refrigerator overnight. Otherwise, you risk getting a lot of ice crystals making it watery instead of juicy chicken breast.
To freeze fresh chicken (including ground chicken), simply follow the same steps listed above for storing raw chicken in the refrigerator, but put it in the freezer.
1. Once the chicken is fully defrosted, transfer it to resealable freezer bags.
2. Squeeze the air out of the bags to lengthen the storage life of the meat.
3. Label the contents clearly and date them accordingly. Don't forget to label the outside of the bag, if you are super organized add the name of the recipe you'll be making.
4. Seal the bags well and then put them in the freezer until needed.
How to Store Pre-Cut Chicken
Pre-cut chicken parts, breasts, thighs, drumsticks, wings, etc., have their own special way of being stored. They need to be handled carefully so that they stay moist and tender. If possible, buy only those cuts that come vacuum sealed. It also ensures that no part was contaminated by other meats otherwise, it can cause bacterial growth. Here's how to properly handle pre-cut chicken:
1. After purchasing the cutlets, open up the packages and check if everything looks clean and free of debris. Remove any extra fat on top of the meat.
2. Always wash hands thoroughly with cold water after touching uncooked, raw meats. If possible, wear gloves when cutting up poultry. Use clean utensils only. Avoid using knives on other surfaces like countertops, tables, etc.
3. After washing hands, pat dry with a towel before placing the chicken onto a plate. Chicken juice is a major source of containment, so be careful.
4. Cover the surface of the plate with plastic wrap. The plastic should touch both sides of the chicken. Leave enough space at the edges of the plastic wrap so that you can easily lift off the cover afterward without tearing the plastic.
5. Put the covered plate of raw poultry inside the refrigerator. Keep the temperature set as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
I would also note that good quality plasticware like Tupperware can also be good for fresh or ground chicken storage as well as freezing raw chicken.
How Long Does Raw Chicken Go Bad
Raw chicken goes bad quickly once exposed to air. However, this doesn’t mean that all cooked chicken has gone bad. In fact, some types of cooking methods such as baking or grilling are known to preserve freshness longer than others- e.g they seal in the juices. For example, baked chicken stays good for about three days while grilled chicken lasts 4 days. But the key is not to worry about whether or not your chicken went through proper cooking processes. Just make sure to store it correctly!
How Can I Tell If the Chicken Has Gone Bad
How do I know if I have bad chicken? There are several ways to check for bad chicken.
Checking the Chicken color. A healthy-looking piece of chicken will appear white, pinkish, yellowish, or even brownish depending on what type of chicken cut you have or if food coloring was used. But, if the chicken turns dark gray or black, it means that it has spoiled. This happens because bacteria starts growing rapidly once the chicken begins losing moisture and is left at room temperature.
How do I store cooked chicken?
After your chicken has spent some time in the oven, it’s important to know how to store it. Firstly, make sure you keep the chicken breast away from any raw meat. You should also make sure to keep it separate from any raw items in your fridge since cooked meat is especially vulnerable to bacteria. It’s best to store chicken in the fridge if it’s not going to be consumed in the next few hours. Store in an air-tight container to reduce any cross contamination.
The important thing to remember when it comes to storing egg or cooked chicken is to keep them cold and to keep them fully covered. By keeping products like cooked chicken breast fresh and safe from bacteria growth, you can avoid food poisoning. You don't want to add bacteria or yeast to your food by leaving it out for too long.
There are a few ways to keep your cooked chicken fresh. One of the best ways is to store it in an airtight container. This prevents it from drying out, which could lead to bacteria growth and the chicken going bad. You’ll want to make sure you store it in a container that has a tight seal.
Can I Freeze Cooked Chicken?
Cooking a meal is often a time-consuming process, which is why many people choose to freeze cooked meals so they can enjoy them at a later date. Whether you have too much chicken on hand or you're having company, cooking and freezing chicken can be a life-saver. Here’s how to freeze cooked chicken.
- Place the cooked chicken on a dish and let it cool for 20 minutes.
- Package the chicken into airtight containers or freezer bags.
- Label each container with the date, quantity, and type of meat.
- Freeze the chicken in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Chicken can be frozen for up to 3 months. (write on the plastic bag the date and what it is - e.g frozen chicken breast, this is just good frozen food or food storage practice.
Raw Cabbage - can you wrap the chicken and then freeze it.
Also foods like cheesecake - how long can it sit out?