It is not unusual for us to buy grocery items and then stock them in the fridge for quite some time, pending their use or cooking.
But some food and stuff can only last for so long and must be used or cooked before they expire or spoil.
Experts advise us to vacuum seal chicken in the fridge so we can cook them.
But how long does vacuum sealed in the fridge last?
The conventional wisdom is that vacuum-sealed chicken would last long.
That is true, but it still depends on many factors, which may eventually impact whether your chicken will last that long.
Vacuum sealing food works because it keeps moisture from the food.
Moisture can lead to bacteria buildup, which can easily cause food spoilage, whether cooked or not.
The absence of moisture can prolong the shelf life of any food item, but more so if you store them properly.
So, vacuum-sealed food can have a longer shelf life if stored in the fridge.
But not all food can have a longer shelf life, even if you vacuum seals it.
Even in ideal circumstances, vacuum sealing can only prolong the shelf life of some food items for a couple of hours.
It would be best if you had an ideal temperature to extend the shelf life of many goods to weeks or even months. Chicken is one such food item.
However, vacuum sealing the chicken and putting it in the fridge can prolong the shelf life of this healthy meat even to a couple of months.
Read More: Which is more healthy, chicken or pork?
What is the Typical Shelf Life of a Chicken?
To understand better, we need to know how long a chicken last, cooked or not, and in different circumstances:
A raw chicken at room temperature can last around 2-4 hours; cooked chicken can usually last up to 24 hours.
But even if you vacuum-sealed chicken, it only has the same shelf life as that of a raw chicken, which is also two to four hours.
However, a smoked vacuum-sealed chicken can last from one to two days, even at room temperature.
So How Long Does a Vacuum Sealed Chicken Last in the Fridge?
A vacuum-sealed chicken in a fridge usually lasts 3-10 days, while a smoked vacuum-sealed chicken in a refrigerator can last up to a week.
However, if you put them in a freezer, that chicken may last tremendously longer.
A smoked vacuum-sealed chicken in the freezer can last up to a month, while a vacuum-sealed chicken in the freezer can last from 9 months to about a year.
That is a very long time indeed.
What are the Factors That Affect the Shelf Life of a Chicken?
Some butterfly effect is at work when you preserve whatever type of meat, chicken included.
The preparation, the conditions when you prepare it, the ingredients you use, and the refrigeration and freezing conditions may affect the chicken’s shelf life.
But if you do it properly and have the right conditions, your chicken can have a longer shelf life.
Moisture and oxygen are critical to your chicken’s longer shelf life.
The more quickly you cut oxygen and moisture to your chicken, the longer the shelf life of the meat.
So, preparing your chicken in ideal conditions will play a key role in its shelf life.
Done correctly, it can last more than a week in the fridge and up to a year in the freezer.
Other factors that may affect the shelf life of the chicken are:
- The ingredients, marinated chicken, for instance, may have a shorter shelf life than raw chicken, which is vacuum sealed due to the presence of ingredients used in marinating.
- The acidity level of the chicken itself may have an impact on the shelf life.
- How fresh is the chicken when you vacuum sealed it: Is it fresh or already lying there for hours when you vacuum sealed it? It may impact the shelf life of the chicken.
- The room temperature as you vacuum seal the meat may affect the meat’s freshness and, consequently, the shelf life.
- The condition of the vacuum bag or plastic container where you put the chicken may also affect the shelf life. If it is not sanitized or has microbes and bacteria, it can also shorten the shelf life of the chicken, even if it is in the fridge or the freezer.
Here are some tips to have a longer shelf life for your chicken when you vacuum seal it:
- You need to remove the air as much as possible.
- Press the vacuum bag to remove as much air as possible until it is vacuum sealed.
- Make sure you use a clean, sanitized zip bag to seal your chicken. It will prevent bacteria buildup and will reduce the chances of spoilage.
- The fridge temperature should be below 40 degrees Fahrenheit to have an extended shelf life for your vacuum-sealed chicken.
- The lower the temperature, the greater the likelihood your vacuum-sealed chicken will have a longer shelf life, so storing it in the fridge will prolong the shelf life of the meat.
- It would be best to store it on the far side of the fridge, preferably away from the fridge door. Opening and closing the fridge door makes for fluctuating temperatures near it, which is not ideal when storing meat such as chicken.
- Chances of high temperatures as you open the door may shorten the meat’s shelf life.
Vacuum-sealing, your chicken, may not spell that much of a difference, but putting the vacuum-sealed chicken in the fridge will do.
It will significantly prolong the shelf life more than tenfold, giving you delicious meat to eat after more than a week.
But it would be best if you have the right conditions: temperature when preparing must be ideal, and also the ingredients you use when marinating the meat.
All of them can significantly impact the shelf life of the chicken.