It's important to keep chicken sweet and fresh after it is brought home from the grocery store. Flavour is compromised when chicken is not handled properly, but more importantly, if food safety rules are not followed, the health of those who eat it is also compromised. Store chicken properly and know when and how to freeze it for optimum taste and safety.
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Things you need
- Plastic food storage bags
- Aluminium foil
Remove the fresh chicken package from the grocery bag immediately upon getting home from the grocery store.
Put plastic-wrapped or butcher-paper-wrapped chicken packages in the coldest part of your refrigerator. It is not necessary to repackage the chicken unless the package is leaking.
Prepare the chicken in one or two days. If you will not be able to use it this quickly, freeze it.
Open large plastic-wrapped packages of fresh chicken and divide into meal-sized portions. Repackage fresh chicken in butcher paper as well.
Put the chicken into plastic freezer bags and squeeze out as much air as possible. Over-wrap the plastic bags with aluminium foil for added protection against freezer burn.
Label and place these packages in the freezer.
Tips and warnings
- Smaller packages of plastic-wrapped fresh chicken parts and whole chickens in cling film need not be opened prior to freezing. They may be frozen in their original containers. Over-wrap these original packages in aluminium foil to help reduce instances of freezer burn.
- When repackaging and storing meal-sized packages, consider adding a marinade or other seasonings before sealing.
- Always defrost your frozen packages in the refrigerator and use the defrosted chicken right away.
- To store fresh chicken safely for a day or two, the part of the refrigerator that houses your chicken must be 40F or lower. This is typically on a lower shelf of the refrigerator.
- To store fresh chicken safely in the freezer, make sure the freezer maintains a temperature of 0 F.
- Fresh chicken that has been frozen properly should last for a year.
- Wash your hands and any equipment or surfaces touched by the raw chicken with warm water and soap to avoid cross-contamination.
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