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refreezing uncooked chicken

masshlx Mar 27, 2011 06:09 AM

Hi. I bought a large package of chicken at the store 2 days ago, expecting to cook a big meal with it today. I wasn't expecting the flu to hit the house over the weekend, with the result that nobody has an appetite. I know this product comes into the store frozen, it was semi frozen when I bought it and continued to defrost in my fridge. I've seen mention that the USDA says it's ok to refreeze, but some have said that the quality of the chicken isn't as good after refreezing but still is ok to use.

Long question short, has anybody done this and what were your results?


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  1. Uncle Bob RE: masshlx Mar 27, 2011 06:29 AM

    Yes, I have done this. As long as it was properly handled, and it sounds like it was, it is "safe" to eat.
    I do believe the quality suffers somewhat, but my experience has been, not to the point of not being usable/good...I would suggest as soon as everybody is well...thaw it, and proceed with your recipe.

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      nsstampqueen RE: masshlx Mar 27, 2011 07:24 AM

      I have had similar experiences where I thawed the chicken out and then we didn't use it that day. I have just repacked it, usually after rinsing in cold water, and re-frozen it with some success. It is my understanding that that reduces the life of the chicken - I just make sure I use it sooner rather than later.

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        ellecue RE: masshlx Mar 27, 2011 01:14 PM

        I'm a pretty reckless freezer, so I do this all the time, forget about it for months, then repeat. Haven't had a problem or noticed a difference really.

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          escondido123 RE: masshlx Mar 27, 2011 01:23 PM

          I would be more likely to cook the chicken in some easy way like baking simply in the oven or poaching. Throw some onion and carrot into the pot along with the water, and you'd also have some nice chicken soup.

          1. goodhealthgourmet RE: masshlx Mar 27, 2011 01:32 PM

            yes it's okay to re-freeze. it does compromise the texture somewhat because the moisture level changes with all those different temperature levels, causing the meat tissues to expand & contract. when you do finally use it, i'd suggest a stewed or poached preparation as opposed to dry-heat cooking like grilling or baking.

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              Harters RE: masshlx Mar 27, 2011 02:45 PM

              Where I am, government food hygiene advice is not to refreeze uncooked meats.

              I don't usually take a great deal of notice of food hygiene advice (as anyone who has seen me cook will testify) - but this is one bit I'd certainly follow. I'd cook it into something (thereby killing off the bugs that will have developed in the time sinc eit started to thaw) and freeze that.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Harters
                Michele4466 RE: Harters Mar 27, 2011 04:27 PM

                I agree, usually season and bake for 30 minutes or so and then re-cook howeverI was planning on cooking it....

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                neel2004 RE: masshlx Mar 27, 2011 06:27 PM

                I've done it quite regularly with chicken breasts -- I buy a pack from Sam's which I assume was shipped frozen to the store. I then clean, individually portion, and refreeze them, and they turn out fine.

                I'm surprised nobody has suggested turning the chicken into some chicken soup for everyone fighting the flu.

                2 Replies
                1. re: neel2004
                  escondido123 RE: neel2004 Mar 27, 2011 06:28 PM

                  I did suggest the chicken soup.

                  1. re: escondido123
                    neel2004 RE: escondido123 Mar 27, 2011 06:55 PM

                    In that case, I just fail at reading.

                2. johnb RE: masshlx Mar 27, 2011 08:41 PM

                  Another approach, that helps circumvent the reduction in quality problem, is to go ahead and cook the chicken now, and then refreeze it to serve later. The change in the cellular structure from the cooking means that the refreezing will not affect it so much. This will, of course, work with some recipes not others. It should work fine with any water-based method, like stewing or braising, but less well with roasting and certainly frying.

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                    Philly Ray RE: masshlx Mar 27, 2011 08:50 PM

                    Here is one opinion from the USDA...


                    1. Caroline1 RE: masshlx Mar 27, 2011 10:36 PM

                      You CAN do it, but it will not be the same as frozen once only. Both chicken and turkey (I'm not sure about duck) will have "stringy" breast meat if frozen the second time, no matter how you cook them. It's a texture I don't particularly like. Last Thanksgiving, I bought a Butterball turkey, and the damned thing had been refrozen somewhere along the way. From now on, I think I'll stick with 79 cents a pound. It happens with chickens too. On the other hand, if you can find a source for poultry that has NEVER been frozen, you're good to go on freezing what you haven't cooked yet. But it's expensive. The good stuff always is.

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