BY ANDREA BECK
Frozen chicken is one of the most efficient ways to stock your freezer. After all, it lasts a lot longer than fresh chicken, so if you’re buying in bulk or just trying to make sure you always have a dinner option on hand, frozen chicken definitely seems like a good option. If you’ve mostly been buying chicken that’s already frozen, however, your dinners probably aren’t quite as juicy and delicious as they could be.
According to Food and Wine, the main problem with buying chicken that’s already been frozen is that it can easily be dried out. You want to buy meat and poultry that’s moist and juicy, and that juiciness comes from the water content in the meat. When you buy frozen chicken, it’s more prone to drying out and losing the water that makes it so tasty. You can look for labels that say something like “fresh, never frozen,” but those aren’t a guarantee. Sometimes stores will freeze their meat before it spoils so they don’t lose product.
Another reason to avoid frozen chicken is that it can be saltier than fresh. According to Livestrong, some pre-frozen chicken is injected with a saline solution (which is basically salty water), which can dramatically increase the amount of salt in the meat, compared to fresh chicken. Some frozen chicken is flash-frozen, however, which helps preserve the taste, texture, and all-important juiciness as much as possible, and doesn’t use any preservatives.
How long frozen chicken will last in your freezer
Though frozen chicken probably isn’t going to be quite as juicy as fresh, sometimes it’s still your only option. According to Woman’s Day, you should only keep fresh chicken in your fridge for two days before cooking it, so if you’re not making your chicken right away, you might have to freeze it to preserve it. In contrast, a whole frozen chicken will keep for up to a year, so it definitely has a much longer shelf-life than fresh. Frozen parts, like chicken breasts or thighs, will last for up to nine months, and giblets or ground chicken can be frozen for three-four months, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
If you have to freeze your own chicken to save it for later, you can leave it in the original packaging and add an extra layer of aluminum foil around it, or take the chicken out of the package and put it in freezer-safe bags, according to Woman’s Day. Just squeeze out as much extra air as possible before putting it in the freezer. Your chicken might not be as moist as fresh when you cook it, but it’s also better than letting your meat go to waste.