Did you know that you can preserve chicken meat for up to 15 years, even without refrigeration?
And the best part is it also makes the food tastier over time.
But you may be wondering now how to preserve chicken meat to last that long.
Well, if you do, you came to the right place because, in this guide, we’ll teach you how to do that.
In particular, you’ll learn how to prolong chicken meat’s shelf life by:
- Canning (the most intricate process among them all)
So, if you want to learn new skills and tricks on chicken meat preservation, you’ll surely benefit from this guide!
Without further ado, let’s get right into it.
How to Preserve Chicken Meat
How do you preserve raw chicken meat?
The first thing that may pop into your mind when you hear that question is a fridge.
Technology has made it possible to keep and preserve meat without additional labor.
But there’s an old-world practice of meat preservation that is worth learning in this day and age. It’s super easy and doable because all you need is salt.
This process is called curing.
If you’re wondering how to preserve chicken without a refrigerator, using salt, and how long it will last, join us as we dig into that.
Curing with salt is one of the oldest yet effective ways of preserving meat.
This age-old practice which involves heavy salting, was used before the days fridge was invented.
And it’s a great method to use if you want to have a specific flavor or color development in your meat.
But how long can salt-cured meat last?
If you keep the chicken meat in air-tight packaging like a plastic bag, it can last 3 to 4 months without refrigeration.
Common Curing Ingredients:
Here are the most common ingredients used in preserving chicken meat with salt and the benefits of each.
Sodium chloride (ordinary salt)
Salt is known for its ability to inhibit the growth of spoilage bacteria through dehydration and osmotic pressure alteration.
Additionally, it also slows down enzyme actions and reacts with fatty acids, which results in enhanced flavor and more tender chicken meat.
Sodium nitrates and nitrite
Using nitrate and nitrite helps to add color to the meat and make it more flavorful.
It also prevents the growth of bacteria like Clostridium botulinum and slows down the development of rancidity.
The recommended nitrate and nitrite level is 500 ppm and 200 ppm, respectively.
You can find curing salt online, but you can also use ordinary salt or sodium nitrate.
How to Preserve Chicken Meat by Curing:
1. First, cover the chicken meat completely with salt.
2. Then, place it into an air-tight storage jar or bag.
3. And lastly, keep it in a cool place with a temperature of 36-40 degrees Fahrenheit for about a month.
But it can vary, depending on the thickness of the meat.
However, the general rule is 7 days per inch of thickness.
So if your meat is 2 inches thick, then you will need to cure it with salt for about 14 days.
But never freeze it.
If you want your chicken meat to last longer than a few months, this next option is right for you.
Canning is one of the trickiest and most time-consuming techniques in food preservation.
But here’s the thing, it can preserve your food not just for a few years but up to fifteen years!
So, if you can do it and get this right, you’ll never have to worry about running out of food at home.
Here’s what you will need for the canning process:
- A good quality pressure canner to regulate the pressure during the canning process
- Sealable Mason jars or pint-sized jars
- Seasonings of your choice
- Jar grabber
- And the meat itself
Pressure canning meat is the ideal way of canning chicken meat.
So, that’s what we’ll focus on in this section.
You can add seasonings if you want, but that is optional.
The chicken meat will still taste good even without lots of seasonings.
Now, let’s proceed to the prepping process.
How to Preserve Chicken Without Fridge By Pressure Canning:
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to preserve chicken without refrigeration using pressure canning.
Let’s start with the prepping of ingredients and materials for the canning process.
1. First, fill the jar with the sliced chicken meat pieces but leave about an inch or an inch and a quarter below the top of the rim.
Make sure to pack the meat down with the spatula and get rid of the air as much as possible, then add more chicken if necessary.
2. Then, add 2 to 3 inches of hot tap water to your pressure canner.
If you’re using pint-sized jars, settle for 2-inch water to prevent water from going up the jar lid.
3. Splash a little water (about a quarter or half an inch), and using your spatula, make sure to get the bubbles out.
Then, check every bottle to ensure nothing goes above the bottom rim.
4. The next step is to wipe off the top of the rim so nothing can hinder the seal with vinegar.
It’d also help to add vinegar to the water in your pressure canner to prevent water spots and mineral spots from forming in your lids.
But it may cause rusting in the long run, so that’s optional.
5. Now, it’s time to place the seal and new lid and tighten each up.
6. And finally, they’re ready to be placed inside your pressure canner. But after sorting the jars out, make sure to seal the sides of the pressure canner by applying a little olive oil before closing and locking the cooker.
1. Now, it’s time to proceed to exhaust steaming for 10 minutes, and after getting all the oxygen out, proceed to add the weighted gauge to pressurize the canner.
For the recommended process time and weight, refer to the table below.
Recommended Process Time for Chicken Meat in a Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner
|Style of Pack||
Time (in min.)
0 to 1,000 ft. Designated Altitude
|Above 1,000 ft.|
|Hot or Raw||
|Hot or Raw||
2. Before starting the cook timer, wait for the weight to sputter, then regulate the heat to maintain a uniform pressure while cooking it for over an hour.
It should sputter 1 to 4 times per minute, and you’ll have to find the sweet spot on the dial on your stove to get that right.
Be careful not to drop a little pressure because if you do, you’ll have to restart it.
3. When the canning process is complete, turn off the stove and wait for the canner to depressurize.
The dial must go all the way down to zero before removing the weighted gauge, and it usually takes about an hour.
4. After taking off the gauge, open the canner but make sure to open it up away from yourself to avoid the steam.
Then, wait for the jars to cool down before removing them from the canner.
5. If the jars are still warm after a few hours, use your jar grabber to remove them from the canner and place them on a wooden cutting board or towel-lined surface.
And wait for 12 to 24 hours before removing the rings or screw bands.
6. After removing the rings, check each jar to see if it’s fully sealed.
But how will you know if it’s sealed or not?
If the top is not popped and there’s a little concave, or the lid is indented, then it’s well-sealed.
But if it produces a hollow sound when tapping the center of the lid, it’s not sealed, and you’ll have to keep it in a fridge and consume it before it gets spoiled.
7. Then, wash the jars with warm soapy water and rinse and wipe them before labeling them to avoid attracting insects and rodents into the jar.
8. After placing the labels, you can now store them in a clean, cool, dark place with no refrigeration.
The cooler the place, the longer the canned chicken will last.
And that’s it! You now have a canned chicken that can last for years!
While it sounds exciting for DIY-ers, it can be too laborious for others.
So, if the canning process is too time-consuming for you, freezing may be the best option to keep the meat in a fridge longer.
In this section, we’ll discuss how to preserve chicken in the fridge.
Freezing is, without a doubt, one of the easiest and most hassle-free techniques for preserving chicken meat.
But how long can meat stay in the fridge?
Uncooked and cooked chicken and other poultry meat can be preserved in the fridge safely for 3 to 12 months.
On the other hand, wild game birds can be kept for 8 to 12 months.
But make sure to prepare and seal it well to prevent freezer burn and maintain a freezer or cooler temperature of 0 °F (−18 °C) or below.
Before placing the meat in your fridge, label each container and package with the type of meat and the date when the meat was frozen.
It’d also help if you could organize them by putting all the chicken meat together and using the oldest meat first to avoid the need to get rid of expired or freezer-burned food.
You can use either a stand-alone freezer or the freezer compartment in your refrigerator.
But if you don’t have either of them, you also utilize a cooler.
Having a cooler gives you many advantages because it’s portable and usable even without electricity.
So, your meat won’t get spoiled even during a power outage, and you can also bring it anywhere you want.
But you need to fill the cooler with ice at the bottom and place the meat, then cover it again with more ice.
This requires ice replacement every time it melts, so it’s a little time-consuming but still a cheap alternative.
However, you have to know that thawing frozen chicken meat is time-consuming.
But don’t worry; we got some bonus tips for you to make this task a breeze.
Bonus Tips on Thawing Frozen Chicken Meat:
There are three ways to thaw meat.
You can either thaw it in the fridge or submerge it with its air-tight packaging in cold water.
However, the latter requires changing the water every 30 minutes until the chicken meat is completely thawed.
So, you must be patient because some poultry meat, like turkeys, will take 24 hours to thaw.
You can also thaw meat using your microwave oven, but you need to cook it right away because it thaws unevenly and may cook some parts of the meat during the thawing process.
But check for freezer burns before cooking and remove the freezer-burned or discolored meat.
It doesn’t make the chicken inedible, but since it lost moisture, it might taste bad.
You can keep it if you want, though, but if it smells or looks off, it’s best to discard it than suffer from digestive problems or adverse health effects.
Why Preserve Chicken Meat?
You can buy commercially preserved meat anytime, but what are the advantages of preserving chicken meat by yourself?
In this section, we’ll discuss how you can benefit from this practice.
Benefits of Preserving Chicken Meat:
It Adds Flavor
Preserving chicken meat with seasonings and some flavorings can enhance the meat’s taste over time.
Drying also helps concentrate the flavor.
However, if you prefer canning them, you have to know that the smell gets stronger over time, so it might be best to minimize the seasoning to ensure it won’t be overpowering.
Save Some Buck
You can save considerably if you buy meat in bulk now or whenever the price is lower and then preserve it for future usage.
It’s also cheaper than buying pre-made or takeaway food.
Furthermore, it makes budgeting and meal planning so much easier, and it helps you get in control of your diet.
Preserving chicken meat and preparing meals in bulk is perfect for busy households.
Canned meats, for example, are ready to cook or reheat, saving you lots of time, just like other canned goods.
Healthier and Safer
If one of your family members is suffering from food or preservative allergy, then these preservation techniques are perfect for you.
They don’t require chemicals or preservatives, and they’re easy to do.
Furthermore, commercially prepared chicken meat is high in fat, salt, and sugar, and some have artificial ingredients.
Meanwhile, preserving and preparing your own food allows you to control the type of chicken meat, the cut, ingredients, fat content, and seasonings.
You won’t have to worry about running out of food in the future if you’ve preserved lots of chicken meat.
So, take advantage of sales on meat and seasonings to preserve lots of chicken and other types of meat.
FAQs on How to Preserve Chicken Meat
What is the best way to preserve chicken meat?
The best way to preserve chicken is through canning because it lasts longer, especially if stored in a cool, dark place.
How do you preserve chicken meat without refrigeration?
You can place it in a refrigerator or freezer.
But if you want to preserve raw chicken for a long time, you may need to utilize the curing and canning processes above to keep the meat longer without refrigeration.
What is the easiest way to preserve meat?
Other ways to preserve chicken meat without refrigeration are pressure-canning, dry salt-curing, dehydrating, and cold-smoking.
How do you preserve fresh meat naturally?
The easiest and most common meat preservation method is using refrigerators, but the typical storage life for meats is only 5 to 7 days.
Final Tips on How to Preserve Chicken Meat
Preserving meat using the canning process above can help you beat inflation and give you peace of mind that you won’t run out of food.
Since drying to make jerky out of meat isn’t suitable for chicken’s meat and texture, it’s best to either cure or can them.
Canned chicken meat can last longer than cured ones, but prepping it requires lots of time and effort.
However, it allows you to preserve chicken meat for many years without needing a fridge.
Now that you know how to preserve chicken without a freezer or fridge, the next article will show you our top picks for chicken meat!