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Freezing chicken is something that a lot of people do, but not many people do it correctly.
This can have disastrous consequences for your next meal!
If you want to know the correct way to freeze chicken, read on to learn about how to freeze chicken without freezer burn.
What is freezer burn?
Freezer burn is essentially dehydration that occurs when meat is exposed to air in the freezer for too long.
While freezer burned chicken may look shriveled, dry, or discolored, it’s actually safe to eat.
However, freezer burn wreaks havoc on the texture of chicken.
So, while you can eat freezer burned meat, you will most likely want to steer clear of food that looks burned.
Even though freezer burned meat is not appetizing, it’s totally preventable!
How to freeze chicken without freezer burn
There are some important steps you can take to store chicken without it experiencing freezer burn.
Store chicken at the right temperature
Preventing freezer burn actually begins before you put the meat into the freezer.
Setting your freezer at the correct temperature is highly important for proper storage of all of your food.
Make sure that your freezer is set at 0 degrees F.
If your freezer is warmer or cooler than this temperature, food will not keep properly.
You should check the temperature of your freezer both using the included settings and using a separate thermometer to ensure accuracy.
Wrapping is key
This stage is where a few extra minutes of preparation can make all the difference between a great chicken dinner and a pile of goo in the trash.
While you may be tempted to toss chicken in the freezer while it’s still in the packaging from the store, don’t give in!
Take the time to store chicken properly.
You can certainly store chicken in the store bought packing in the freezer for a few months, but the chances of freezer burn are much higher.
Think about it: in store bought packaging, a significant amount of air touches the chicken on the sides.
This is a perfect area for freezer burn to set in!
So, wrap your meat well before storing it in the freezer.
You can wrap meat in butcher paper or store it in a freezer bag.
How to wrap chicken in butcher paper
To store chicken in butcher paper, place chicken in a plastic bag. This bag can be open at the top.
Push all of the air out of the bag, and tie it in a knot. (It’s very important to make sure that you remove all of the air at this step!)
Next, select the amount of butcher paper that you’ll need. A good approximation is to use one square foot of butcher paper for a medium chicken breast.
Angle the butcher paper so that one corner points towards you and one corner points away from you; it should look like a diamond.
Then, place the chicken roughly ⅓ to ½ way to the center, and fold up the corner that is nearest to you.
Fold in the sides as well, creasing the paper into a straight edge on both sides. Finally, roll the chicken to the corner furthest from you, and seal the package with a sticker or tape.
How to store chicken in freezer bags
Storing chicken in freezer bags is essentially identical to the first step of storing chicken in butcher paper.
However, instead of an open plastic bag, you’ll be using a tightly sealed freezer bag.
Use the smallest freezer bag that will comfortably hold the chicken.
Simply place the chicken inside, squeeze out all of the air, and seal the bag.
It’s probably a good idea to mark the type of meat and date stored on the outside of the freezer bag using a permanent marker.
Don’t leave chicken in the freezer for too long
The longer meat sits in the freezer, the more susceptible it is to freezer burn. Save meat from freezer burn by using it soon after you place it in the freezer.
If meat stays in the freezer for longer than 3-4 months, the chance of freezer burn rises significantly.
A good rule of thumb is to keep meat in the freezer for 3 months or less.
Also, if you’re in the habit of freezing chicken, make sure to use the oldest chicken first!
Keep track of when you put meat into the freezer and make a conscious effort to select the chicken that has been in the freezer the longest.
This will help reduce your food wastes and allow you to eat fresher food.
Use the correct storage container
While it’s perfectly safe to store chicken in the freezer either in freezer paper or in a freezer bag, some people want to put it inside another container as well.
As long as you select the correct type of container, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this.
Choose a strong plastic container that is approved for use in the freezer or a stainless steel container.
Some glass containers can work as well, but they are more prone to breaking. The last thing you want is to find broken glass all over your freezer!
We hope that these helpful tips are useful in your food storage endeavors! Freezer burned chicken is dry and chalky.
Luckily, now you know how to prevent freezer burn in chicken!
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