There’s a reason why chicken is a staple in most households: it’s healthy, it’s versatile, and even the pickiest eaters will likely be willing to eat it. Unfortunately, chicken also has a high risk of bacterial contamination, which is why properly preparing, storing, and cooking it is essential. If you’re not sure how long frozen chicken is good for (or how to safely defrost that frozen chicken), here are some tips to keep your chicken fresh and (even more importantly) to keep you and your family from getting sick.
Can you eat 2-year-old frozen chicken?
Yes, you can eat 2-year-old frozen chicken given that it was raw and uncooked. For chicken to still be good after 2 years, it should be frozen at 0 degrees without any changes in the temperature.
Chicken stored at 0 degrees will be fresh for as long as you want it to be. Any disruptions in the temperature can cause the chicken to go bad. This is because 0 degrees prevents the microorganisms from growing. It arrests their growth. As soon as the temperature fluctuates, the bacteria get time to grow.
This is also true for when you take out the chicken, thaw or defrost it, use some of it and refreeze the remaining chicken. This should not be done. If you wish to store the chicken for 2 years, it should be kept frozen without ever taking it out.
If you want to use some of it, you can store chicken in smaller portions so that you only have to take out one portion and cook it without the need for refreezing the remaining portion.
Special attention should be given to the freezer’s temperature. Any hot dish should not be placed inside the freezer as it will make the temperature inside the freezer rise and subsequently cause the chicken to spoil.
On the other hand, cooked chicken would not last for 2 years.
How to properly store cooked chicken
The key to making food last longer is to properly store it. Let’s have a look at some important points to keep in mind while storing cooked chicken. You can use these tips when you have made large portions of a dish and wish to store it for longer periods:
Never leave the chicken out for more than 2 hours after cooking it. If it stays out for too long, bacteria get time to multiply and overgrow.
Make sure you let the chicken reach room temperature before putting it in the fridge.
Make small portions of the cooked chicken and place them in separate shallow bowls. This ensures even quicker cooling.
Once the chicken has cooled down a bit, cover the containers with an airtight cover or saran wrap to completely seal them. Then put the containers in the fridge.
If you wish to make your food last longer, put it in the freezer in the same way. Smaller portions also make it easier to defrost the chicken without having to defrost the entire big portion.
Alternatively, cooked chicken can also be placed in ziplock bags for storage in the freezer. It will also save space inside the freezer.
What happens if you eat spoiled chicken?
There are some serious consequences of eating spoiled chicken. Sometimes it is easy to tell if the chicken has been spoiled just by looking at it or smelling it. Spoiled chicken may have a slimy or gooey texture. Mold can also be easily spotted as it has a greenish-blue hue to it. Spoiled chicken would give off an offensive odor, much like rotten eggs.
Some pathogens, however, do not affect the texture of chicken or even the smell, so a person may accidentally ingest them. To avoid this, it is best to throw out the chicken after 3-4 days.
Some pathogens present in the chicken are Escherichia Coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter jejuni. These bacteria are notorious for causing food poisoning. Salmonella can also cause typhoid fever which requires a long antibiotic regimen.
Campylobacter J. can cause Guillain Barre syndrome. This is a syndrome in which there is ascending paralysis. If it is left untreated, it can lead to respiratory muscle paralysis and subsequent death.
The common symptoms of food poisoning are nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. A lot of vomiting can lead to severe dehydration and the patient may need to be hospitalized. The patient will also almost always have a fever.
In addition to all of these symptoms, typhoid fever can also cause headaches, muscle aches, and loss of appetite.
How To Tell If Your Chicken Is Still Good?
There are a few ways to tell that your chicken should be tossed rather than eaten. Whether raw or cooked, chicken that has passed its expiration date is likely no longer safe to eat. Changes in color, smell, or texture also indicate spoiled meat, though a change in color alone doesn’t necessarily mean your meat has gone bad. It’s when your chicken starts to turn a gray-green color that you know it’s past its prime. Poultry that has an acidic smell or a slimy texture should also be discarded.