Salvage Freezer-Burnt Chicken With This Easy Cooking Method

cooked chicken breast
cooked chicken breast - Veselovaelena/Getty Images

There are few things more frustrating in life than taking chicken out of the freezer only to find that it's fallen victim to freezer burn. While you may be tempted to toss the offending food, it's often possible to restore the delicious flavor and toothsome texture to meat even after freezer burn has set in. Cooking methods that infuse it with added moisture are key in rescuing dinnertime.

A slow cooker or crockpot is the perfect device, in this case, as it allows the poultry to be submerged in liquid as it cooks. There are also lots of tasty slow-cooker chicken recipes to make at home, including soups and stews with lots of delicious additions. This is similar to poaching, which is a culinary method that involves cooking food in a liquid that's kept at a relatively low temperature. You can use a variety of liquids when poaching, including water, stock, white wine, butter, and milk. The goal is to replace the moisture lost to freezer burn, which ensures a tender and flavorful meat preparation.

Read more: 15 Tricks For Making The Most Crispy Chicken Thighs Ever

What Actually Causes Freezer Burn?

frozen food in freezer
frozen food in freezer - Ahanov Michael/Shutterstock

There's a scientific reason for why freezer burn happens. In order to preserve food, freezers must remain cold and dry, as high temperatures and humidity will accelerate spoilage. While beneficial for preserving food, keeping food in a freezer for an extended period can lead to a chemical reaction called sublimation. This causes a loss of moisture in food when solid ice converts to water vapor, which then gets released. The result is dryer, tougher food, which can be a real issue when it comes to chicken. The science behind freezer burn also emphasizes why moisture-rich cooking methods are so beneficial to restoring the favorable flavor and texture of food.

While freezer burn does cause a decrease in quality, it's not associated with any food safety issues. As explained by the USDA, freezer-burnt food is still safe for consumption. Provided that the freezer is set to zero degrees or lower, food should remain well protected from bacterial growth.

How To Tell If Your Chicken Is Freezer-Burnt And How To Avoid It

frozen chicken on cutting board
frozen chicken on cutting board - Qwart/Getty Images

If you're concerned about whether you'll need to save tonight's dinner from the ravages of freezer burn, certain visual cues can clue you in. There's an easy way to tell your chicken has freezer burn and it entails assessing the color of the meat. Freezer burn can cause lighter spots to form on the chicken and in many cases these spots appear to be a whitish gray hue. Upon seeing any off colors, you can employ a moisture-rich cooking technique.

In addition to having a foolproof method of overcoming the potential heartache of a freezer-burned meal, you should also be aware of how to avoid the issue in the first place. Tightly wrapping poultry wards off air exposure and prevents freezer burn. In this case, it's usually a good idea to take the chicken out of its original package and put it in a container or storage bag designed for use in the freezer. You can also create more humid conditions in the appliance by filling a small cup or container with water and keeping it inside the freezer.

While freezer burn on meat can be a real pain, there's no reason to discard perfectly good chicken when you have this nifty cooking trick at your disposal.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.