Wondering how to seal chicken if you want to store it for about a week? Are you also confused about the difference between container sealing and vacuum sealing? If you are looking for some quick and effective ways to help you extend a chicken’s shelf life, this article is for you!
Vacuum sealing helps in expelling air from the chicken before storage since it can reduce contamination that is caused due to microbes present in the air. Vacuum sealing can allow the user to store the raw chicken for a year!
If you are new to this method of storage, let us help! In this article, we will go into great detail regarding how long chicken may be kept in the freezer and refrigerator. We’ll also talk about how to vacuum-seal chicken at home without using additional tools.
How does Vaccum Sealing have an Effect on the shelf life of the chicken?
Vacuum sealing is a method that is widely used in food-based industries to improve the shelf life of perishable food items. The idea originated from vacuum sealing clothes to prevent them from discoloring and moisture-associated damage.
Since vacuum sealing essentially removes all the existing air from the food item, it eliminates the interaction of the chicken with moisture and microbes in the atmosphere.
Additionally, it aids in protecting the chicken from pests and dust. Also, it helps keep the chicken from absorbing arbitrary odors from the refrigerator in which it is kept.
The chicken’s limited exposure to air significantly reduces the likelihood of becoming tainted by airborne pathogens, thus prolonging its overall shelf life.
For How long does Vaccum Sealed Chicken Last at Room Temperature
Depending on the country you reside in, the room temperature may vary. If the temperature exceeds 35 degrees Celcius, it is not advisable to store chicken, cooker, or raw, sealed or not, at room temperature for more than 30 minutes.
As per USDA, keeping chicken at room temperature is not advisable, considering it is a perishable food item.
Raw chicken at room temperature is an open invitation to microbes. Hence, as per the official website, you cannot store uncooked chicken at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Within 2 hours, the microbes will invade the chicken and start infecting it, resulting in a rotten smell. Even though vacuum sealing can reduce the interaction of the chicken directly with air, it can only slow the process and not inhibit it.
Since chicken is cooked at high temperatures, there are chances that the majority of microbes are killed during the process. However, if left unattended for more than 5 to 6 hours, there is a possibility that the chicken will get infected at room temperature.
Due to the additional nutrition and moisture provided by cooking the chicken with oil and other ingredients, it becomes even more susceptible to microbial contamination.
For How long does Vaccum Sealed Chicken Last in the Refridgerator
One of the best ways to ensure that the chicken can last for a long time is by storing it at a low temperature of about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Since low temperatures can inhibit the growth of microbes and lessen the overall activity of various enzymes in the chicken, the chances of chicken lasting in the fridge are higher.
Raw chicken, if vacuum sealed, can last for about ten days in the fridge. However, one must be careful while storing it to ensure that it does not get to touch with food items with excessively high moisture content.
Cooked chicken can last for about 5 to 7 days in the fridge. Once the chicken is cooked, the enzymes within it are active. Furthermore, the oil or butter used for cooking can also greatly impact the food item’s overall shelf life.
For How long does Vaccum Sealed Chicken Last in the freezer
Freezers have proved their utility time and again in storing food items and extending their overall shelf life. However, sometimes, freezing food items results in the formation of ice crystals and causes freeze burns which can alter the taste of the frozen food items. These complications can be avoided with vacuum sealing since it will be airtight, and ice cannot enter the packaging.
As per the official data on UDSA, you can freeze raw vacuum-sealed chicken for about 12 to 16 months. At below-zero temperatures, all the enzymatic activities are suspended; hence the chances of contamination are negligible.
Cooking food can be frozen at low temperatures in a vacuum packet for about six months. However, to ensure that the frozen pieces taste and feel the same, ensure it thaws adequately before you attempt to reheat them.
Factors That Can Influence the Shelf Life of the Chicken
Vacuum-packed chicken might sometimes spoil or turn brown or green, leaving you to question why. A few elements that can greatly affect the overall shelf life of the chicken are listed below.
Freshness: If the chicken is fresh, it is free from residual contamination. However, if the chicken is already frozen for a long time or kept on the shelves for some while, there are chances that it may already be infected.
Acidity: If the food is more acidic, the chances of the nutrients deteriorating are higher.
Marination: If the marination mix contains ingredients with a short life span, like curd or cream, the food will get spoilt even though it is stored properly under vacuumed conditions.
Sanitization: Sometimes, while vacuum sealing the chicken, if the condition is not sterile, the contaminants can enter the chicken and the packaging. Once they are inside the seal, it will facilitate the faster deterioration of the chicken.
Proper Sealing: Sealing is a process that ensures that all the excess air is removed from the packaging before finally sealing it. If you are trying to vacuum-seal an entire chicken, there is a possibility that air will be present in the lungs; hence, make sure you press hard in that area to purge all the residual air before vacuum-sealing it.
Storage Temperature: Temperature makes a huge difference in the storage capacity of the chicken. If the refrigerator is not working properly or the temperature keeps fluctuating, the chicken will get spoilt faster. Hence, it is advisable to store chicken inside the freezer and never towards the door.
Can you Vaccum Seal Chicken at Home?
Vacuum sealing chicken at home is relatively easy; however, one must take a few precautions before attempting it. If you have a machine, the entire process becomes automated; however, if you don’t have one, you can follow the steps below to get the best results.
Step 1: Clean the chicken with warm water and thoroughly wipe it dry to eliminate excess moisture.
Step 2: Take a good-quality plastic wrap or ziplock bag and place the chicken in it.
Step 3: Remove air from all the cavities if you pack an entire bird by gently tapping and pressing it.
Step 4: If you have a machine, you can place it inside, and the process will be done effectively.
However, if you don’t have a machine, let me give you another alternative method to get the same results.
Step 5: Place the chicken into the plastic bag and close it almost completely, leaving a small opening in the corner.
Step 6: Place the bag in a tub of hot water and keep pushing it down. The water pressure pushed all of the air out of the small opening.
Step 7: Keep going down until you reach that little open corner.
Step 8: At this point, seal the bag! There you have it! A vacuum-sealed chicken without a machine.
How to tell if the vacuum-sealed chicken has turned bad?
Even though you took care of all the necessary precautions while trying to store your chicken, there are chances that it may have turned rancid. Therefore, relying solely on vacuum sealing to prevent the chicken from spoiling is not a good strategy.
Here are a few ways in which you can detect if there are any alarming changes in your refrigerated chicken.
Visual Inspection: One of the best ways to understand the overall condition of your chicken is by closely observing any physical changes.
Packaging Damage: A tell-a-tale sign that the chicken is spoilt is by checking the condition of the vacuum-sealed packet. If you notice any random tears or opens, the safety of the chicken is compromised. If you notice any random air pockets or bubbles inside the packaging, they may be present due to bacterial contamination.
Color: The cooked chicken is light brown to dark brown; if you notice any grey or green color, it may indicate that the chicken is rotten and not fit for consumption.
Texture: We all are well versed in the ideal texture of the chicken. It is not safe for you to eat chicken if you notice that it has taken on a slimy or flaky texture.
Mold Formation: Mold and Fungi commonly infect raw and cooked chicken since they can easily proliferate and colonize in a nutritious growth medium. It may be due to microbial contamination if you notice random black, blue, or white streaks. Hence, discard the chicken to prevent it from infecting the other food items around it.
Sense of Smell: If you are a regular chicken consumer, you can easily spot the tantalizing smell of cooked chicken. If you notice that the chicken smells funky, it may be due to infection or spoilage.
Taste Test: If you cannot spot and confirm any of the above tests, the test taste will be the ultimate suggestion about the chicken’s condition. Take a small bite and decide if it tastes like chicken! If you notice that the taste is slightly off, discard it without giving it a second thought.
Advantages of Vaccum Sealing
Here are some amazing advantages of sealing chicken before storing them.
- Vacuum sealing can help keep your fridge and refrigerator organized and make it easier for you to make the difficult choice to cook.
- It creates more space in your refrigerator since you can easily stack these plastic bags, unlike bulky boxes and containers.
- It helps to keep food items from freezer burns and random odors and flavors.
- By eliminating the air from the packaging before storing, leftover chicken can be kept for longer, thus reducing food waste.
Disadvantages of Vaccum Sealing
Here are some disadvantages of sealing chicken before storing them.
- It will facilitate the growth of anaerobic bacteria since a lack of air can also promote the growth of many microbes.
- Food items with high water content cannot be stored in vacuum-sealed packets as they can still result in spoilage.
FAQs About Vacuum-Sealed Chicken?
In this section, we will answer some commonly asked questions.
How long does vacuum-sealed pork last in the freezer
Answer: Pork is a kind of meat that can last longer if stored in the right conditions. If the pork is vacuum sealed, it can be stored in the freezer for about two years without getting spoilt or freezer burns. However, dip the meat in warm water before sealing it to eliminate any leftover contaminants.
Can chicken still go bad even after vacuum sealing?
Answer: Yes! Chicken is a perishable item. Hence, it can get spoilt due to multiple factors unrelated to sealing vacuums. Several factors play a major role in vacuum sealing, like the moisture content, packaging material, storage temperature, freshness of the chicken, etc.
Can you thaw vacuum-sealed chicken?
Answer: Vaccum-sealed chicken can be thawed in the refrigerator or at room temperature for about 2 hours. However, try to cook the chicken for two days after thawing to avoid any residual contamination.
Vaccum-sealed chicken can last more than regular chicken at low temperatures. If you want to store the cooked chicken for longer, you can vacuum seal it and use it for about 5 to 7 days.
If the plan is to stock up on raw or marinated chicken and keep it for months, removing air from the chicken can help you store it for about a year!
If you are unsure about the condition of your chicken after vacuum sealing, you can check for any visual defects followed by the sense of smell and taste.
I hope you found this article helpful. Let me know in the comments below if you found this article helpful.
Milburn Adler is a food enthusiast and connoisseur of wine. His area of expertise is food fusions and gourmet foods. He lives to experiment with new recipes every day and spends most of his day looking for fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables.