Can You Eat Frozen Chicken After The Expiration Date?
Freezing chicken is the best way of preserving the chicken for longer. You can freeze both cooked and uncooked chicken for up to 4 months and 12 months respectively. The freezing time here indicates the best preservation time for the chicken.
Post the 4-month and 12-month period, the chicken does not expire. It is still called an expiration date because the chicken might develop texture alterations. However, the food will still be safe for consumption, if it has not spoiled.
So, yes you can still eat the frozen chicken after the expiration date. It is however advised that you check the chicken, especially the cooked chicken before consuming it past the expiration date. The uncooked chicken will anyhow be cooked, so you do not have to worry that much.
How Long Does Frozen Chicken Last Past The Expiration Date?
While the chicken will be safe to eat even after it has crossed its expiration date, sometimes you still might not want to eat it. This is because if the chicken is not frozen properly, it will form ice crystals after 12 months (for raw chicken) and 4 months (for cooked chicken).
However, if you pack the chicken adequately, and do not let it come into any air contact, the chicken will keep for another 1-2 months in the freezer. That is a long time after the expiration date of the chicken.
Note: Even if you keep the chicken frozen post the suggested freezing time, always check the food before consumption. The quality and texture might or might not be affected. So, it is always better to check.
Tips To Keep Frozen Chicken Safe For Longer
Now you know that you can store your cooked and uncooked chicken post its expiration freezing dates. Here I have some tips for you that will help in ensuring that your frozen chicken is safe and can be kept for longer in the freezer.
Check out the tips below:
- Make sure the freezer temperature stays at 0°F. You can place a thermometer to keep the temperature in check.
- Do not freeze warm foods with the chicken, and do not freeze the chicken when it is still warm. This will disrupt the freezing properties.
- Do not open the freezer door unnecessarily. Open it only when required. Also, do not keep it open for an extended period.
How Can You Increase The Frozen Time For Chicken?
Chicken lasts for quite a long time in the freezer. Cooked chicken can last for about 4 months in the freezer, raw chicken has a shelf life of 12 months. That is quite a long time for the chicken to be kept frozen.
However, as mentioned earlier in this article, the end of freezer time does not mean an expiration date for the food. The freezer time refers to the time until the chicken maintains its best flavors. And if you want you can keep the chicken for longer. But how?
The first thing to remember while you try to increase the frozen time for your cooked chicken is how it was prepared and stored. The ingredients will play an essential role when you try to freeze the chicken for longer. You do not have to worry about raw chicken though.
Chicken that has been properly cooked, packaged, and frozen can be kept for longer in the freezer. Even past its expiration date. Also, make sure that the chicken does not come into any air contact. And that there is no ice crystal formation while in the freezer.
How Will You Know That Frozen Chicken Has Gone Bad?
If your frozen chicken has gone bad, you will notice the changes very easily. The food spoilage indications are quite clear and cannot be ignored. I have a few points that you should note while you check if your frozen chicken has gone bad or not.
Check out the following points that would decide if the chicken has spoiled or not:
- If you see a lot of crystallization on the frozen chicken, the meat likely has frostburn. This will turn the chicken dry and alter the texture.
- When you thaw the chicken, it will release a smell because it is no longer frozen. But if it does not smell like normal chicken, then you should know that it has gone bad.
- The next thing to check is the texture of the frozen chicken. If the chicken is not frozen properly, the texture will change. And a changed texture might be a sign of bacterial spoilage.
Summing it up, that was all about frozen chicken after the expiration date. So, the next time, you want to keep your chicken post the expiration date, you know that you can. Also, remember to keep in check the points that are mentioned in this article for the best results.