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I have chicken in the freezer that is a year old. Is it usable?

The title pretty much says it all. I've been going through my freezer and realized I have 3 lbs. of chicken thighs that have been in the freezer for a year. Are they usable? If not, do you think they just won't taste as good or do I need to worry about any funny bacteria? I'm pregnant, so not really into taking any chances, but wold hate to waste the food.


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  1. I caution you against looking for medical advice on a food/cooking board.
    (It's probably fine. I'd defrost it and smell it, since I trust my nose.)

    1. Ditto what pitu said about defrosting then sniffing... but also:

      Is this a stand alone freezer, or part of a fridge/freezer combo? Are they rock solid and have they been rock solid for that year? If so, they're most likely fine (I have stuff that old that I've used with no problem at all, though the quality has usually deteriorated). Still, if you're worried, defrost in the fridge then smell 'em.

      1. According to the FDA, freezing keeps food safe indefinitely, but frozen chicken parts should be eaten within 9 months for best quality. http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~pregnant/re... .

        If the meat is covered with frost, or if it's discolored, I'd cook it and give it to the dogs. Otherwise, I'd use it in a dish with other prominent flavors, so less-than-optimal flavor or texture would be less noticeable. Thai red curry, chicken enchiladas, tom yum gai, something along those lines.

        1. we've done this also. just defrost and sniff. Chicken curry or braised chicken in olives doesn't hurt...

          1. From what I understand, and I'm no expert, long-time freezer storage is not dangerous, but the quality of the food deteriorates. An exception to this, apparently is bacon. The salt in the bacon does not permit freezing properly. One month is all they recommend. I had some salmon in the freezer for two years. Cooked and ate it. No problems but flavour was definitely low grade.

            3 Replies
            1. re: billieboy

              I have never ever had any problem freezing bacon or keeping it solidly frozen for months and months and months on end. I don't know where this idea comes from but this is like the fourth time I've seen it mentioned here in the forums. Sometimes ideas just won't die. :)

              Bacon freezes just fine.

              1. re: Morganna

                Yeah, I have ignored the advice also. Buy on sale and freeze forever (well a few months anyway). Haven't died yet. But before I frooze it I went up on the net and they recommended only one month. If it is on the net....it must be true...:-)


                1. re: Morganna

                  thanks morganna, for repeating that.ditto.

              2. Safety-wise it should be fine, but taste is another thing. If it's vacuum-sealed the flavor might be okay, but otherwise it's almost certainly got freezer burn, or picked up an off-taste. Defrost and smell. If there's that old-frozen-stuff odor, cook it up for your cat or dog, who will love it, or give it to someone else who has pets if you don't.

                1. I'd make stock instead of eating. Just from a quality not health standpoint. And, hey, call your OB :)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: c oliver

                    I have made stock from freezer-burned chicken parts.......'nuff said: the dogs loved it.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      Ah. A word to the wise -- and I intend to be wise :)

                  2. Not pregnant, I cook stuff that's been in our deep freeze for over a year on several occasions. For instance- we usually get 2 turkeys each November, I defrost one from the prior year and toss a new one in. One we get deep fried, one I roast in my oven. One year we skipped it and went out so I had 3 frozen turkeys... yaaahgggggh. Then I was totally confused because I had 2 that were 2 years old and 1 that was 1 year old, or was it 2 that were 1 year old and 1 that was 2 years old... Whatever. I checked into it (ok I asked a USDA inspector!) . But I'm fairly healthy and again, no baby in me so... can you cook them up and freeze them again for a few months? I wonder how that would work out.

                    1. Are you seriouis? You have 3 pounds of cheap chicken thighs that might have cost $3, they're a year old, you're pregnant and you are even asking this question. Good grief. Chuck them

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bnemes3343

                        Good grief, in my parts, 3 pounds of organic chicken thighs cost considerably more than $3. But if you must know, they just didn't pass my (extra sensitive, at the moment) smell test, so I chucked them.

                        To everyone else, thanks for your helpful replies!

                      2. To echo what others have said.

                        Safety-wise you are fine as long as the chicken was frozen in a solid state for the entire year.

                        Quality-wise, it's a harder call. Freezer burn is your biggest concern, as is the concern that the chicken might have picked up flavors from the other things around it.

                        Is it edible? Of course. Will you enjoy eating it as much as a fresh pack of chicken parts? Probably not.

                        If it were me, I would use the chicken in something that's either heavily sauced (e.g. chicken curry), heavily spiced (jerk chicken), or heavily breaded (fried chicken). I would avoid things like baked chicken thighs.