Are you one of those people who toss out food as soon as its sell-by date has passed? If so, you might be throwing away perfectly good chicken! The sell-by date is just a suggestion for stores to know how long they can display the product. But what about at home? How long after the sell-by date is chicken really safe to eat?
Don’t worry, we’ve got all the answers that will help ease your worries and save some money too. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about chicken and its shelf life.
How Long Is Chicken Good After the Sell-By Date?
According to USDA, Chicken is good for one to two days after the sell-by date if it’s been properly stored.
However, this is only true if the chicken has been refrigerated at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. If it has been stored at a higher temperature, it may only be good for one day after the sell-by date.
To be on the safe side, always check for signs of spoilage before eating chicken that is past its sell-by date. These signs include an off odor, slimy texture, and change in color. If any of these are present, it’s best to throw the chicken out.
Factors That Impact the Shelf Life of Raw Chicken
There are several factors that can impact the shelf life of a raw chicken, including how it is stored, the type of chicken, and whether or not it has been frozen.
Proper storage is essential to extend the shelf life of a raw chicken. It should be stored in the refrigerator at 40°F or below, and if possible, on the bottom shelf where it will be least likely to come into contact with other food. Chicken that has been frozen can be stored for up to 2 years in the freezer, but it should be cooked within 1 year for best quality.
The type of chicken can also affect its shelf life. For example, the fresh whole chicken will only last 1-2 days in the fridge, while a package of chicken breasts may last 3-4 days. If you’re not sure how long your chicken will last, it’s always best to check the packaging for more specific information.
Finally, whether or not chicken has been frozen can also impact its shelf life. Frozen chicken can last for up to 2 years in the freezer, but it should be cooked within 1 year for the best quality.
Safe Storage Guidelines for Raw Chicken
It is important to follow safe storage guidelines for the raw chicken to prevent the spread of bacteria and food poisoning. Chicken should be stored in the refrigerator at 40°F or below, and used within 2 days. If you need to store the chicken for longer than 2 days, it can be frozen.
When storing raw chicken in the refrigerator, keep it in its original packaging or place it in a sealable bag or container. Raw chicken should be placed on the bottom shelf of the fridge so that it doesn’t come into contact with other food and contaminate it.
When thawing frozen chicken, make sure to do soSafe Storage Guidelines for Raw Chicken:
-Chicken should be stored in the refrigerator at 40°F or below, and used within 2 days.
-If you need to store the chicken for longer than 2 days, it can be frozen.
-When storing raw chicken in the refrigerator, keep it in its original packaging or place it in a sealable bag or container.
-Raw chicken should be placed on the bottom shelf of the fridge so that it doesn’t come into contact with other food and contaminate it.
-When thawing frozen chicken, make sure to do so safely by either defrosting it in the fridge overnight or using cold water to thaw it (change the water every 30 minutes).
-Once the chicken is thawed, cook it within 24 hours.
Signs that Your Chicken Has Gone Bad
If your chicken has any of the following signs, it has gone bad and should not be consumed:
- The color of the meat or poultry is dull or changes color. Raw chicken should have a pink, fleshy color. If the color is off, this is a sign that the chicken has gone bad.
- There is an unpleasant odor coming from the meat or poultry. Chicken that has gone bad will often develop a sour or ammonia-like smell.
- The texture of the meat or poultry changes. The bad chicken will often feel sticky or tacky to the touch.
- The chicken starts to produce slime. This is a sign that bacteria are present and starting to multiply.
Recipes to Use with Older Chicken
When it comes to recipes and older chicken, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. The older chicken will have less moisture, so it’s important to cook it slower and at a lower temperature. This will help prevent the chicken from drying out. Additionally, you’ll want to add extra liquids such as broth or wine to create moist, flavorful dishes.
Here are some specific recipe ideas for using older chicken:
- Chicken and Rice Casserole: This classic casserole is perfect for using up older chicken. The rice will absorb all the delicious flavors of the chicken and broth, creating a rich and satisfying dish.
- Chicken Pot Pie: Another great way to use up older chicken is in a pot pie. The crust will help keep the filling moist, while the veggies and seasonings will give the pie plenty of flavors.
- Chicken Stew: Chicken stew is another comforting dish that’s perfect for using up older chicken. Be sure to simmer the stew slowly so the chicken stays moist and doesn’t fall apart.
Whichever recipe you choose, making dishes with older chicken is a great way to stretch your food budget and get creative in the kitchen!
Can I still cook and eat chicken if it’s past the sell-by date?
Yes, you can still cook and eat chicken that’s past the sell-by date. However, it’s important to make sure that the chicken is properly cooked before eating it. Chicken that isn’t cooked properly can potentially lead to food poisoning.
Is it safe to eat chicken that has been in the refrigerator for a few days?
Yes, it is generally safe to eat chicken that has been in the refrigerator for a few days as long as it’s properly cooked and stored. If the chicken has any unusual smell or texture, it should be thrown away.
Can chicken last for a long time in the freezer?
Yes, chicken can typically last up to nine months in the freezer if it’s properly stored. Be sure to check that the temperature of your freezer is below 0°F (-18°C) to ensure optimum storage conditions.
Knowing the right answer to the question, “How long after the sell-by date is chicken good?” can help you make an informed decision when shopping for chicken. Whether it’s fresh or frozen, always check labels and pay attention to the expiration dates; if it seems too close, go with a different option. If your raw chicken looks slimy or smells bad either before or after cooking, throw it away as soon as possible for safety reasons. You can always play it safe by following these tips and storing your poultry correctly to ensure its safety and quality!