So you cooked some delicious chicken, served it, but some of it leftover? You freeze it to use later. After a few days, you felt hungry, you took that chicken out, thawed it, ate a bit, but now you still have some left, and you don’t want to waste it. Here comes the question that
Can you refreeze that chicken? Will it be safe and healthy?
Or, in another sense, your mom cooked chicken for you to take it to your hostel and froze it. When you are going back to your hostel, you took it out and went to your hostel, and it defrosted. Now you are worried about whether you can freeze it again or not?
So let’s see together in this article that what are the pros and cons of refreezing the chicken?
WHAT DOES REFREEZING DO TO THE CHICKEN?
There are many answers to this question based on which people like and don’t like refreezing.
1) QUALITY AND TASTE
Freezing and then refreezing changes the quality of the food thoroughly. The texture of the food also changes. The chicken will become tight and rubbery.
Reason of reduced quality of frozen food:
The reason is that in the freezer, the water in the chicken is converted to ice crystals, which breaks the cell wall leading to reduced quality and altered taste.
2) BACTERIAL GROWTH:
Refreezing can stop bacterial growth but will not kill the bacteria. The number of bacteria present on the chicken will be significantly linked to the fact that whether it was properly thawed or not. Stay with me, and I will share the proper thawing method.
There are a few techniques to properly thaw the cooked chicken so that you can limit the bacterial growth to its maximum.
Putting in the fridge:
The first option is to take the chicken out of the freezer a day before and put it in the fridge that is working below 40 F. The chicken will defrost in the fridge. This may take a longer time, but it is the safest method to do so.
Use Cold Water:
The second option is to put the chicken in sealed plastic bags and put that in cold water. And replace the cold water every 20 to 30 minutes.
The microwave comes with a defrost option too. You can use that to defrost chicken, but again, it is not safe as the temperature might go above 40 F.
THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER DO:
I am leaving the chicken on your counter shelf to defrost as room temperature promotes bacterial growth.
Not properly thawing and refreezing it again.
I am not using airtight bags.
SAFE METHOD TO REFREEZE CHICKEN:
Now that you know about the pros and cons and everything about defrosting. Let’s come to the point of how to refreeze it properly so that you can stay away from any health issue.
After the chicken is properly thawed, you should put them in airtight freezer-friendly plastic bags before putting them up for refreezing.
You should not put the chicken after thawing unattended on the chicken shelf as it may lead to bacterial growth, and when you eat it later, it will not be healthy.
Freeze chicken quickly so that fewer ice crystals are formed that mainly changes the quality of chicken. To freeze it quickly, you should make small portions instead of putting them all up as a whole.
COOKED CHICKEN DISHES THAT CAN NOT BE FROZEN:
Any dish that has mayo dressing, egg, sour cream, or cucumber in it should not be freeze like chicken salad. The mayo will leave its texture, and it will be gross to eat after freezing.
CHICKEN DISHES THAT CAN BE FROZEN:
Almost all the chicken dishes can be kept in a freezer if they don’t have a mayo base. For example
The chicken noodle soup
REHEATING FROZEN CHICKEN:
If you are reheating the food, make sure that food cooks at 160 F for almost 2 minutes so that all the bacteria that cannot withstand heat will die.
The second thing to keep in mind is that the defrosted chicken should be heated only once. It would help if you never reheated it.
Q. FOR HOW LONG CAN WE FREEZE THE CHICKEN?
Try to use the refreeze chicken within four months. The taste of the refreeze chicken might be affected.
Q. HOW LONG CAN THE COOKED CHICKEN STAY IN THE FRIDGE?
The cooked chicken can stay for 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
Q. WITHIN HOW MANY DAYS I SHOULD REFREEZE RAW CHICKEN?
You should refreeze raw chicken within two days, but only if it is properly thawed. It is better to refreeze it as soon as possible.