How to buy and freeze chicken in bulk | I get 8 whole chickens every 2 months


cut whole chicken how to purchase and freeze chicken in bulk
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Purchasing raw chicken in bulk provides you with lots of dinner options; however, it must be frozen and used within one year to preserve and ensure the chicken’s freshness. There are many ways to purchase and freeze chicken in bulk, providing your household with plenty of chicken to eat. 

How to buy chicken in bulk

Many locations provide the ability to purchase chicken in bulk, including direct from a local farmer, butcher, meat markets, and online food markets. You can also visit local farmers’ markets to speak with local farmers who may offer a home grown chicken sale where you can purchase your chicken in bulk. Additionally, wholesale restaurant supplies have local shops which are open to consumers looking to buy in bulk. 

Fresh chicken lasts for about one to two days past the printed sell-by date when stored in the refrigerator. However, chicken lasts longer in the freezer and, when adequately frozen, can last up to one year. Check with the seller of the bulk chicken to determine the sell-by date to help calculate how long your chicken will last in the freezer. 

When determining how much chicken to purchase in bulk, you need to analyze how much your household eats. Bulk chicken products are available in all quantities, including five-pound, ten-pound, and even 40-pound packages. Depending on how much your household consumes in six months to one year will determine how much bulk chicken to buy. 

Is it cheaper to buy chicken in bulk?

Chicken prices vary by purchasing a whole chicken, how much chicken you are buying at one time, if the chicken is boneless or organic. Buying chicken in bulk is cheaper than in individual packages at a local grocery store. 

In June 2021, the average cost of fresh boneless chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, etc.) was $2.38 per pound, while the price for a whole chicken averaged $1.28 per pound. Retail chicken prices vary by brand, and when buying organic chicken, prices can be as high as $5 per pound. 

When purchasing 40 pounds of chicken through an online seller, prices vary between $0.66 and $1.75, depending on what type of chicken you are buying, with whole chickens being less expensive. 

How do you freeze raw chicken in bulk?

Fresh chicken is easy to freeze and, if stored properly, can easily be defrosted. When freezing chicken, use plastic zip-locking freezer bags, glass containers, vacuum sealing methods, or other freezer storage options available to you.

I find freezer bags the most convenient and the cheapest.

Putting cut chicken in freezer bags

These are great freezer bags for freezing chicken:

Ziplock bags
  • Perfect for freezing meat, poultry, fish, and more
  • Designed exclusively to protect food against freezer burn
  • Helps to preserve original flavor
  • Use these handy freezer bags to store food or organize other items for you and your family
  • Reusable and great for meal prep

Last update on 2021-09-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Before placing the chicken on the bottom shelf of the freezer, regardless of the container used, make sure to get as much of the air out of the packaging. Raw chicken can be stored in a freezer indefinitely, especially when vacuumed sealed, but is best when used within one year of freezing. 

It is possible to freeze cooked chicken and leftovers using the same packages and methods for freezing fresh, raw chicken. Place the cooled cooked chicken in the plastic bag or container, remove as much air as possible before storing it on the bottom shelf of the freezer. Cooked frozen chicken can last up to three months in the freezer. 

It is best to store similar items together, such as placing all chicken breasts in one package and all chicken legs in another container. However, when meal planning, if you plan to use a mix of chicken parts, it is best to store what you will use for one meal together. That way, you are not having to defrost two packages and possibly have too much meat. 

Chicken can be frozen with the bones still in them. However, deboning and preparing the chicken makes the freezing and defrosting process easier. 

You can freeze a chicken hole, but it will take longer to defrost before cooking. Cutting the chicken apart allows for dividing the chicken into different containers for different meals; additionally, cutting the chicken up allows for a quicker defrost time. The amount of chicken you freeze together depends significantly upon your family size and how much you eat per meal. 

Before freezing your chicken, gather all the tools you need to process, divide and cut the chicken. Poultry shears and butcher’s knives are great for cutting and slicing chicken.

I use a set of butcher knives which are perfect for slicing and deboning chicken, even if you hit a bone or two in the cutting process. These knives are sturdy and can be sharpened easily. Personally, I would never use professional chef knives for this job, because you can hit a bone too often, and knife chipping is inevitable. 

Butcher knife set
  • Jero P3 Series Butcher Set - 4-Piece Set With High Quality Sharpening Steel
  • Set Includes: 10" Cimeter, 8" Breaking Knife, 6" Curved Boning, and Mundial Steel To Keep Your Knives Sharp
  • German High-Carbon Stainless Steel Blades Provide Strength And Longer Edge Life
  • Handles Are Constructed Of Impact And Temperature Resistant Dense Polymers That Are Injected Molded Onto The Handle And Tang For Superior Strength
  • Jero Is A Leading Professional Knife And Tool Manufacture - Knives Are Manufactured In Jero's Modern Production Facility Located In Portugal

Last update on 2021-09-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you want to properly cut chicken into desired pieces you will need to cut through tough bone, chicken wing, or half the backbone. These cuts are simply to risky for the chefs knife.

Here is how I cut 8 whole chickens into pieces. Each piece is used for a particular dish. That is why I pack the chicken for freezing the following way:

  1. Chicken breasts: I pack the breasts separately from other parts. Packages include half a breast per package. I do this because sometimes I only cook for two family members. When I cook for five, I simply take two packets out of the freeze. I mostly use breast for chicken risotto, Thai fried rice, souvlaki or shawarma, bbq, and many other things. 
  2. Thighs and wings: when cutting, I mostly cut thighs in half so to have more options when preparing a meal. Thighs also defrost better if they are halved. When packing, I mostly pack thighs and wings together. The dish I make with this packet is usually roast chicken with lots of onions, garlic, and thyme. Sometimes I add in some ginger garlic paste, and yogurt to spice up things. I also make simple chicken curry with yellow wax beans. 
  3. Back and other parts: after cutting off thighs, wings and breasts, I am left with lots of bone and very little meat. Usually, I keep all these parts together and don’t further cut them. They are frozen separately because if I put them into one bag, they stick together, meaning I can’t use them separately in different dishes. I usually use these parts for chicken stock, soup, or I quickly roast and broil them with dried spices like dried onions, garlic, oregano, thyme, and mustard.

Here is a step-by-step video on how to cut and debone 8 whole chickens, which last about two months for my family of 5. 

Additionally, use a plastic cutting board designated just for preparing raw chicken. Chicken is delicate when it comes to salmonella and the formation of bacteria on the cutting board. A dedicated dishwasher safe plastic cutting board like this one is perfect for the job:

Cutting board set
  • 【High-density】Kikcoin cutting board set are made of high-density materials, which are thicker and heavier than ordinary cutting boards. It will not hurt the board or the knife when chopped, nor will it split or crack. And water is not easy to penetrate this cutting board, so the boards are dishwasher washable.
  • 【No Mess When Cutting】 Built-in juice groove can effectively catch meat, fruit, or vegetable juice from overflowing the groove. Thus you can keep your work area beautiful even during the busiest cooking time.
  • 【TPE Edging】Both sides of the hard plastic cutting board are covered by TPE, which has strong adsorption force and can be fixed on most smooth surfaces. It‘s not afraid of slipping when cutting food. Each washable cutting board is equipped with a hanging handle for easy storage.
  • 【Meet All Kitchen Needs】Kikcoin extra large cutting board set includes 3 cutting boards of various sizes: an extra large size (17.33*12.01*0.4 inch) suitable for meat or steak; a large size (14.0*9.65 *0.36 inch) suitable for vegetables; a medium size (11.3*7.68*0.36 inch) suitable for fruit. Various sizes of chop cutting board can be used for different area.
  • This chopping board set arrive ready for use out of the box and it's can be a great gift idea for Thanksgiving, Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthday, anniversary, housewarming ceremony or any occasion.

Last update on 2021-09-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How to freeze chicken breasts without plastic

There are several ways to freeze chicken breasts without using plastic. It is possible to freeze the raw and cooked chicken in containers such as reusable silicone zip lock bags, parchment paper, cellulose bags, and glass storage containers. When not storing the chicken in the freezer for extended periods, you can wrap it in aluminum foil before freezing.

Another method to freeze chicken breasts without using plastic is to use canning jars. Canning jars work great for freezing diced, chopped, and shredded chicken. Depending on the jar size, trim thighs, breasts, or drumsticks fit in the jar for freezing. 

How to freeze chicken breasts, so they don’t stick together

The best way to freeze chicken breasts, so they do not stick together is to place chicken pieces on a tray and individually freeze them before packing them in their long-term freezer container. The individually frozen chicken pieces can be stored together in a container and will not stick to one another. In addition, using this method allows you to take a specific number of chicken pieces out of the container instead of defrosting the entire container. 

Other ways to prevent the chicken from sticking together in the freezer include separating each piece with wax paper. Individually wrapping each piece in fold-top sandwich bags before placing them in a larger freezer bag or container provides another method that helps prevent the chicken from sticking together. Pre-wrapping the chicken provides a protective layer between the foil and the meat. 

Can you wrap chicken in foil and freeze it?

Research shows aluminum foil is safe to wrap food for the freezer, but not for long periods. When using foil to wrap and freeze chicken, make sure to over wrap it to prevent tearing and puncturing while in the freezer. Because over time, the foil begins to leach aluminum into the food. You should not store chicken in foil for more than a couple of months. 

If freezing chicken for extended periods, it is possible to prevent aluminum from leaching into the chicken when using foil by wrapping it in something else first. For example, cover the chicken in wax paper or plastic wrap before sealing closed with the foil. 

How to freeze chicken without freezer burn — essential steps

Freezer burn occurs when air and moisture in storage containers and bags crystallize on the chicken, affecting the quality, taste, and almost ruining the meat. To prevent freezer burn when freezing chicken, you must follow some essential steps. The best way to prevent freezer burn is to double wrap the chicken and squeeze out all the air to remove air and preserve the moisture. 

Vacuum sealing raw chicken before placing it in the freezer helps reduce the risk of developing freezer burn. Using a vacuum sealer is the best option when storing bulk chicken in the freezer long-term. 

Additionally, the longer the chicken stays in the freezer, the greater the risk of freezer burn. Therefore, use frozen chicken within the three to four-month window to ensure freshness and avoid freezer burn. 

How to store and organize raw chicken in the freezer

When buying chicken in bulk and freezing it, you tend to use a lot of freezer space. To help keep your freezer organized, pull all the air out of the freezer bags to flatten as much as possible and label with a “Use By” date approximately six months to one year away. Removing air from freezer bags saves space in the freezer, and labeling with dates helps you organize raw frozen chicken in the freezer. 

The best place to store chicken in the freezer is on the bottom shelf. Put chicken with the furthest use by date in the back of the freezer and pull the items that have an older use by date. Then, regularly check your freezer and reorganize it by use-by dates and types of meat. 

Conclusion

It is possible to buy fresh, raw chicken in bulk and freeze it, making it possible to save money. There are many methods to help ensure the frozen chicken remains fresh until you defrost it. 

Rok Jurca

I am a kind of person that would sneak a taste out of grandma’s pot when I was barely tall enough to reach it. I grew up in kitchens full of love and liveliness and have spent my whole live learning, experimenting and succeeding in the art of cooking. At Pro Family Chef, every day is an opportunity for a new meal and a brand new flavor. I created this website to connect people that love to cook, with the products designed to make their cooking easier, hassle-free and rewarding every time.

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