I’m throwing a baby shower on the weekend, and I’m making a lot of chicken salad. I plan to make extra and keep it in the fridge in case we run out of it in the shower. However, I’m afraid I’m going to end up with too much and don’t know what to do with the extra. So…
Can You Freeze Chicken Salad?
I have conducted in-depth research on this. The answer is Yes, but it is best not to, and the freezing time cannot be too long.
Want to know why? Read on to see what I mean.
If your chicken salad contains a lot of crunchy vegetables in it, such as celery and finely chopped onion, freezing is not recommended.
Their cells contain a lot of water and when you freeze them, the water freezes and expands in volume, bursting their crisp cell walls, then when you thaw them, they won’t stay crisp and will turn to mush, the taste not good. This is why I say that thawed celery is good for making soup.
If you’re adding mayonnaise to your chicken salad, you need to be extra careful!
First of all, mayonnaise is an emulsion, and when frozen or left to stand for a while, the emulsion and the water separate. The watery part and the dense, emulsified part will produce a very uneven chicken salad.
Second, mayonnaise is highly perishable. A chicken salad containing mayonnaise or yogurt that has been prepared or not refrigerated for several hours should not be frozen or kept in the refrigerator because bacteria can make it unsafe to eat. However, a chicken salad that has been refrigerated can be safely frozen.
How to Freeze Chicken Salad?
Place chicken salad in a freezer bag, remove excess air, squeeze the bag or use a vacuum sealer. Label and date bags and use within 2-3 months. Unfold freezer bags and store horizontally for stacking. Chicken should be kept in the coldest part of the freezer to ensure food safety.
How to Defrost Chicken Salad?
To defrost chicken salad, remove the bag from the freezer compartment and put it in the refrigerator compartment. Thaw the chicken salad for a few hours or overnight until it is completely defrosted. Do not defrost on the counter, as unsafe bacteria can grow.
After it has completely melted, put the chicken salad in a bowl and drain the excess water. Stir to mix all the ingredients, and consider adding a teaspoon of cornstarch to the mixture to improve the texture.
Due to the different textures, the previously frozen chicken salad may not be best eaten alone. It is most suitable for sandwiches and can also be used as a topping for dishes such as pasta salads. Adding some chopped fresh vegetables can help increase the flavor and texture of the salad. The salad may lose some flavor, and some salt and pepper may be added.
The thawed chicken salad should be consumed within 2-3 days after thawing. Do not refreeze the previously frozen chicken salad, and do not discard the chicken salad that has not been refrigerated for more than two hours.
How to Tell If Chicken Salad Is Bad?
Smell the chicken salad. If a strong unpleasant odor is emitted, the salad is spoiled. The odor is caused by the chicken absorbing off-flavors from other salad ingredients such as lettuce, onions, tomatoes, or apples.
Observe the color of the chicken salad. If the chicken and other salad vegetables are brownish-grey in color, the salad is spoiled. The natural enzymes in salad ingredients cause protein and carbohydrate degradation and spoilage.
Observe the texture of the chicken pieces. If a sticky slime forms on the surface, the chicken salad is contaminated with mold and bacteria growth. The high moisture content of chicken salad can create a good environment for mold and bacteria to multiply.
Discard chicken salad if you keep it in the refrigerator for more than three days or if the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Storing chicken salad for longer than three days or above 40 degrees Fahrenheit can cause bacteria that cause food poisoning.
Overall, chicken salad can be frozen, but I don’t recommend you do so, especially not for long periods. For one thing, there is a risk of spoilage, but it affects the taste. However, if you need to organize a party and need a lot of chicken salad and keep them well for 1-2 days, then this time, frozen chicken salad can help you very well.