Category: Poultry

Poultry

Can You Freeze Turkey?

Traditionally, turkey is served during Thanksgiving and most households tend to have a lot of leftovers once the festivities are over. The good news is, you can freeze turkey, along with its sauces, and use whatever’s left of the bird for new dishes, including stews, casseroles, and sandwich fillings. It doesn’t really take much to freeze turkey properly especially if it’s uncooked.

Image used under Creative Commons from Andrea Goh

However, the cooked turkey must be stored with care and should be separated from its sauces to stay fresh longer. When frozen, roasted turkey can keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Uncooked frozen turkey will stay fresh longer, about 6 to 12 months.

What’s the Proper Way to Freeze Turkey?

The proper way to freeze cooked turkey is to separate the meat from the bones before freezing. On the other hand, frozen uncooked turkey is usually sold in a freezer-safe packaging. Simply store the uncooked bird in the freezer and you’re done.

Freezing cooked turkey is a little more complicated than that. Start by picking the pieces of meat with a carving knife, making sure to separate those with a smattering of sauces from sauce-free meat. Work on the sauce-free meat first, carefully removing the bones and then placing the shredded meat in a bowl and set aside. Then, work on the meats with sauces, removing the meat that has been in contact with the sauce. Put the sauce-free meats in the bowl of shredded meat. On the other hand, the shredded meat with sauces must be kept in a separate bowl

Once the meat has been shredded, get several freezer-safe Ziploc bags and store the meat inside, squeezing as much air as you could in the process. Use a different bag for sauce-free shredded meat and meat that’s been exposed to the sauce. After filling the bags, get a marker, label the bags with the freezing date, and then stick them in the freezer, ensuring that the temperature is a constant 0°F.

What’s the Best Way to Defrost Frozen Turkey

There are two ways to thaw frozen turkey properly. If it’s uncooked, you can defrost the turkey by transferring it from the freezer to the fridge and leaving it to thaw for 24 hours. Make sure the fridge’s temperature is set at 40 °F or below for faster and even thawing.

Another method of thawing a uncooked turkey is cold water thawing. Essentially, you will submerge the frozen turkey – packaging and all – in a basin of cold water. Make sure the packaging is leak-proof before submerging the turkey.

Image used under Creative Commons from Kristie Moser

As for cooked turkey, you can thaw a bag by letting it thaw in the fridge overnight or sticking it in the fridge to defrost. If you’re in a rush, you can also remove the frozen turkey meat from the Ziploc bag, transfer it to a covered ceramic bowl and then stick it in the microwave. Set the microwave on high and microwave for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Summary

Having frozen turkey in stock – regardless if it’s cooked or uncooked – gives you plenty of opportunities to whip up special dishes that the whole family will enjoy. Now that you know how to freeze turkey, you can store the bird properly for future uses.

Poultry

Can You Freeze Cooked Chicken?

While it’s much easier to cook a large batch of your favorite chicken dish, dealing with leftovers is a different thing entirely. That’s why it pays to know how to freeze cooked chicken so you can prep leftovers up and turn it into a different meal, anytime! Frozen cooked chicken allows you to whip up a complete meal faster and more conveniently, saving you time on busy nights.

Image used under Creative Commons from Krista

Whether grilled, broiled, fried or stewed, chicken is one versatile meat! Apart from being easy to prep, chicken meat makes the perfect substitute for red meat. It is packed with lean protein, it’s low in cholesterol plus, it’s delicious! It’s an excellent source of protein among dieters as long as you take it with its skin off.

That said, chicken meat is prone to bacterial growth. Poorly prepared chicken meat may also cause food borne sickness.

What’s the Proper Way to Freeze Cooked Chicken?

The proper way to freeze cooked chicken is to do so immediately, even when the meat is still warm. Freezing the chicken immediately minimizes the risk of contamination because the temperature has switched rapidly from hot to cold. The longer you leave the chicken sitting at room temperature, the greater the risk of developing bacteria.

Get several re-sealable freezer-safe plastic bags or a large plastic container with an airtight seal. Place the chicken pieces in the container, pressing or squeezing out as much air as possible. Minimizing oxygen helps reduce bacterial growth. Once all the cooked chicken pieces are packed, label the bag with the date it was frozen before sticking them in the freezer.

Frozen cooked chicken should keep for up to 3 months. You can freeze whole pieces of chicken or just the shredded meat. Once you take the meat out of the freezer, just get the right amount you need and bring the rest back to the freezer.

What’s the Best Way to Defrost Frozen Cooked Chicken?

There are three ways to defrost frozen cooked chicken but before we get into that, let’s learn about what not to do when you thaw cooked or raw chicken alike.

Bacterial growth is most likely if the temperature is between 40°F and 140°F (5°C and 60°C), and in the middle of these temps is room temperature, which is about 68°-70°F. As such, do not leave frozen chicken to thaw at room temperature.

You can defrost it by taking the frozen meat out of the freezer and transferring it to the lower part of the fridge. The process is slower yes, but it’s the safest way to defrost cooked chicken. Another great technique that’s faster than sticking frozen chicken in the fridge is giving it a cold bath. Just get a plastic bag of frozen chicken meat, put it in a basin and run cold water. Leave it to defrost for 30 minutes. The key is to make sure the packed frozen meat is completely sealed before submerging it into the water.

For quick defrosting, use the microwave. Just set the microwave to defrost, pop the meat and you’re done. You can also use the medium-low setting to thaw the frozen chicken, setting the timer to 2 minutes. After microwaving the chicken, let the meat stand for no more than 2 minutes.

Image used under Creative Commons from Toshihiro Gamo

Summary

While you can always freeze larger pieces of cooked chicken, we recommend shredding the meat and separating the bones before freezing. Why? Smaller pieces of meat thaw much faster than larger pieces. Whichever way you defrost your cooked chicken, make sure to label the package and avoid oxygen exposure to reduce contamination.

 

Poultry

Can you freeze eggs?

Can you freeze eggs? Eggs are a component of many foods, they are often incorporated in diets. In brief, eggs are a very common food. So, what should you do if you’ve bought some eggs a while ago and you are unsure whether you’ll be able to use them within a few weeks? Or can you buy a few packages more than usually if you’ve found a great deal on eggs? Freezing eggs is the solution to both mentioned issues. You can freeze eggs but there are a few things about it that you need to know to perform this process properly.

Freezing raw whole eggs

In order to freeze whole eggs you need to remove them from the shells in the first place. Raw eggs expand while freezing so they’d break the shell and make a mess in your freezer. You don’t want that. After you’ve done that, you need to mix them until they are well blended. Now they’re ready to be put in the freezer.

Frozen egg
Image used under Creative Commons from Nicola Osborne

Freezing raw egg whites

Raw egg whites don’t suffer from freezing. Firstly you need to separate egg yolks from whites, that’s pretty obvious. Make sure that whites are separated well from yolks. After that they are pretty much ready for freezing.

Freezing raw egg yolks

Egg yolks have gelation property. That causes the yolk to thicken when frozen. If you freeze egg yolks without any ingredients, they become gelatinous. They might become so gelatinous that you won’t be able to use them in any recipe. Obviously that’s not what we desire. Fortunately, we can prevent yolks from becoming gelatinous when frozen. If you plan to use them in main dishes, add ½ teaspoon of salt per 1 cup of egg yolks. If you, on the other hand, plan to use yolks for baking purposes, add 6 teaspoons of sugar or corn syrup per one cup of egg yolks[1]. Now the yolks are ready to be frozen.

Tips concerning freezing eggs

When it comes to freezing eggs (whole eggs, whites and yolks) there are a few things that you should consider. The first thing is – freeze eggs in small quantities. This way you can thaw only as many eggs as you need at the moment. The easiest way to achieve that is to put them in ice-cube trays and then in a container. Frozen eggs should be fine for a year at least. Labeling the container with the date and the description of its contents is also worth considering. This way you can easily find what you need. If you freeze egg yolks, remember to write on the label what ingredient you have added (salt, sugar or corn syrup) to the yolks. Make sure that the container will be airtight.

When it comes to thawing eggs, you can do that overnight in the refrigerator or under cold tap water. Please remember to use whole eggs and egg yolks as soon as they are thawed. Egg whites can sit in room temperature freely for about half an hour before being used. One more thing that’s very important – thawed frozen eggs should be used only in foods that are thoroughly cooked[1].

Summary
Eggs are a very common food. You can freeze raw eggs freely but you need to remember that you should do that only if you plan to use them in a thoroughly cooked dish.