In this brief guide, we’ll address the search query: “Can I put warm chicken in the fridge?” Also, we’ll explore how our readers can store their uncooked chicken, how to store cooked chicken, and why it is important to store chicken properly.
Can I put warm chicken in the fridge?
Yes, our readers may put warm chicken in the fridge as a means to store it and extend its shelf life.
Despite there being a common myth advising against storing warm food in refrigeration, food that is lukewarm can be placed in a refrigeration unit.
However, it is not advisable to store hot food within a refrigeration unit, as hot food will radiate a warmth that can be absorbed by other foods that are at low temperatures, and may inadvertently favor the growth of spoilage-causing microbes that may have found their way to the food’s surface.
Ideally, warm chicken should be stored in pieces, as this increases the contact surface and helps it reach a cooler temperature faster.
Chicken can be stored once it has reached room temperature or slightly warmer, as storing hot foods can have serious consequences on the shelf life of other foods.
How can I store uncooked chicken?
Uncooked chicken can be stored either in refrigeration or in subzero temperatures.
In refrigeration, uncooked chicken can keep for up to two days. Uncooked chicken should be stored either in a container or covered in plastic cling wrap so that it does not contaminate other foods with the bacteria that are naturally present in uncooked chicken.
Alternatively, raw chicken can be stored in a freezer to extend its shelf life. It can be placed inside heavy-duty freezer bags and placed in subzero temperatures, or it can be stored in its original, vacuum-sealed packaging. Frozen chicken can keep for up to one year at peak freshness, though it may remain safe after this period has elapsed.
This is because subzero temperatures halt the growth of microbes and oxidation processes that spoil the meat.
To defrost frozen chicken, our readers should leave it to thaw out overnight in refrigeration. Chicken should not be defrosted at room temperature, as this can allow the naturally present bacteria in chicken to thrive and contaminate it beyond acceptable limits.
How can I store cooked chicken?
Cooked chicken can be stored similarly to raw chicken, either in refrigeration or in a freezer, depending on how long our readers wish to store it.
Cooked chicken should be cooled to room temperature before being placed in refrigeration, and should not be left out for more than two hours, as bacteria that may arrive on its surface can begin to grow and contaminate it.
Cooked chicken can keep for up to four days in refrigeration, and can be heated in a microwave, in a convection oven, in an air fryer, or on the stovetop before serving.
Alternatively, it can be frozen in a tight-sealing container or within heavy-duty freezer bags. If our readers wish to extend its shelf life in subzero temperatures, they can cover each piece in plastic cling wrap before placing it in a container, as this will help the meat retain its moisture.
To defrost cooked chicken, our readers can heat it over the stovetop, in an oven, or using any other feasible cooking method or appliance before serving it.
Why is it essential to store chicken properly?
Storing chicken properly is essential as it can prolong its shelf life and reduce the likelihood of the meat being contaminated with the naturally present bacteria that are found in chicken.
Bacteria such as Salmonella can be found on a chicken’s feathers, in their digestive tracts, and their blood. When they are processed, these bacteria may inadvertently spread throughout the flesh, though the meat is refrigerated to keep these microbes at acceptably low levels.
In the case of raw chicken that is contaminated with very high levels of these bacteria, cooking the meat thoroughly may not suffice, as the high temperatures may destroy the bacteria, but may not be enough to inactivate the toxins they secrete.
Contaminated meat can trigger symptoms of food poisoning which may affect individuals at heightened risks, such as pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and patients with compromised immune function.
Emergency medical care may be necessary in severe cases of food poisoning, along with IV fluids (to treat dehydration) and antibiotics to address an infection.
Also, properly storing chicken (be it raw or cooked), can help our readers reduce their waste and make the most of their food.
We encourage our readers to exhaust every feasible option when storing their food, and carefully follow the guidelines each food type requires.
In this brief guide, we’ve addressed the search query: “Can I put warm chicken in the fridge?” Also, we’ve explored how our readers can store their uncooked chicken, how to store cooked chicken, and why it is essential to properly store chicken.