Use Your Senses To Tell If Chicken Has Become A Victim Of Freezer Burn

When used properly, the freezer can be a home cook's best tool for preserving uncooked chicken parts for up to nine months, including the cheap cuts of the chicken. However, this method isn't foolproof. 

Freezer burn is a real threat to damage your meat, leaving you with an unappetizing, leathery texture when cooked. Freezer burn occurs in chickens when the moisture has been drawn out and is subsequently frozen. Even if your chicken is frozen, water vapor can still escape, especially if your freezer runs on the warmer side. This process is called sublimation, and causes your chicken to become dry when cooked, potentially ruining future meals.

Freezer burn won't make your food inedible, but it can drastically alter the taste and texture of the food, making it more challenging to cook. Since the food is frozen, it can be difficult sometimes to tell if your chicken has become freezer burned. The best way to detect it on the chicken, however, is by utilizing your senses to look for these tell-tale signs.

What are the signs of freezer burned chicken?

Freezer burned chicken will often have a layer of ice crystals over the meat. If the freezer burn is severe, you may notice darker, grayish spots. These are parts of the chicken where the moisture has dissipated. Sometimes, ice crystals will form in other parts of the packaging, not just on the meat. So, give the whole thing a good look-over for such clues.

When you pull chicken out of the freezer, try giving it a light squeeze. If the sound of crackling ice crystals can be heard, that is an indicator that your chicken has lost its moisture. Another way to tell is to give the meat a good sniff. If you detect a plastic-like smell, it can be a sign of air exposure from the food to the freezer. If still unsure, try letting the meat defrost and checking its texture with clean hands. If it feels leathery before cooking, that can be another giveaway for freezer burn.