Be it a social gathering or party, a colorful chicken salad is a must-have dish for a vibrant meal. Chicken salads are one of the mouth-watering yet healthy options to serve within just few minutes of preparation. It is a kind of comfort food that most of us crave now and again.
So how can we think of letting even a last spoon of such a delicious recipe go just like that to the garbage? Most often, when we cook chicken salads in bulk, there are chances that we end up with a significant quantity of leftovers.
Now what next? Determining the best way to use the leftovers would be the wisest action. The easiest and most common way of safeguarding the leftovers is freezing. So the same would apply for chicken salads as well. However there are some rules and strategies to be followed in the process of freezing chicken salads.
Let's start off with the rules before putting the chicken salads into the freezing process.
- Rule 1: Chicken salads that are dressed with mayonnaise, or yaourt are not safe to be consumed after freezing. This is due to the fact that during the process of freezing, the mayonnaise or yaourt in the chicken salad will make it to be isolated and achieve a liquefied state which would yield a very bad taste of the salad and yeah , of course, unhealthy too. However, there could be circumstances where you would need to freeze a mayonnaise/yaourt dressed chicken salad. In that case, stir the chicken salad very well for the ingredients of the salad to be well- blended so that there would be minimum separation after thawing.
- Rule 2: Chicken salads that have been out under the sun or in the kitchen for more than few hours, are not eligible for freezing. This is because bacteria would have been already developed in the outer layer of the chicken salad, which would be unsafe to be eat.
- Rule 3: It is advisable that adequately refrigerated chicken salads would be good to freeze for an additional amount of time.
The Chicken Salad Freezing Method
Following the below steps would yield a successful outcome of the freezing process
- (i)Partitioning: Divide your chicken salad into smaller portions that you feel would be eligible for one serving.
- (ii) Vaccum Sealing: Place these portions in separate resealable freezer bags or airtight containers. If you are using freezer bags, squeeze out the excess air and then tightly seal them.
- (iii) Labeling: This step is optional. Label each bag/container with any marking of dates so that you keep track of how long the particular portion of chicken salad has been stored in the freezer. Make sure you use a permanent marker for making the marking on the bags.
- (iv)Organizing: This step is also optional. Line up the marked bags in the freezer's coldest spot so that the chicken salad would last for at least two months.
It is better to flatten the freezer bags in order to stack them evenly in the freezer.
Finally, all the freezing is successfully completed. Now there is no more risk of bacteria or any unhealthy aspects catching over the salad. If this is what you think now, then you are completely wrong.
Food safety risk does not prevail much in the freezing but in thawing. Yeah!.. Thawing is the reverse of freezing.
The Chicken Salad Thawing Method
The process of thawing required more care and effort in making the chicken salad safe and tasty to eat. Like any other frozen foods which needs to be thawed, the chicken salad also need to be taken out of the freezer and placed immediately in the fridge for several hours.
Only when it is completely thawed, it needs to be removed from the refrigerator. Make sure that you don't thaw the chicken salad at room temperature in order to reduce the time of thawing. This is because, while thawing at room temperature, many disease causing bacteria gets into the food which becomes unsafe.
Once thawing is completely done, drain the excess liquid in the chicken salad with the help of a dry container. Next, stir all the ingredients such that the flavor gets evenly distributed all over. To improve the texture and consistency, add cornstarch and stir again.
Though thawed chicken salad will never match the fresh one but using it as a sandwich filling or mixing it with pasta salad are better ideas to maximize the use of thawed item instead of wasting it. To make it fresh and colorful, you can garnish with fresh fruits, sliced veggies and any greens.
This will help regenerate its pleasing flavor and make it more irresistible for our taste buds. You can also season it with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper to get back the lost flavor during the freezing and thawing process.
Now that you realize that you can freeze chicken salad. What are you waiting for? Arrange for that social gathering or party that you have been stressing over for a long time. You can make and place the chicken salad in your freezer ahead to have a lot of time for the occasion planning.
Or on the other hand if not, you can freeze every one of your remaining chicken salad directly after the event.
No stresses, both are conceivable. It's a viable answer for a bustling day.
A very important note to be kept in mind is that the chicken salad that had been thawed out must be consumed within two to three days of thawing for getting the maximum positive tasting results.
An additional point is that, you should not refreeze the already frozen chicken salad. So, now you have the complete knowledge of freezing and thawing, it is time to enjoy some chicken salad with some vegetable or chicken or any flavored rice which is cooked using stainless steel rice cooker.
Enjoy this tasty beautiful lunch with your loved ones!!!
I’m Jeanette, and I’m the main responsible behind Cuisine Bank. I’m a culinary student turned blogger, and I’m in love with food for the last 12 years.