Preparing dinner is hard enough when you're hungry and in a hurry at the same time. It's even harder to figure out if it's safe to eat the chicken you want to prepare. A spoiled chicken, if eaten, can make a person very sick (whether raw, cooked or frozen). There are several different ways to know if a chicken is safe to eat or not through the senses of sight, touch and taste. Follow the Steps below to get to know them.
Method 1 of 4: Raw Chicken
Step 1. Observe changes in color
When the chicken is fresh, it has a pink, fleshy color. When it starts to rot, its coloration starts to turn gray. If the color of the chicken starts to go opaque, you should use it as soon as possible before it goes bad. When it looks more gray than pink, it's too late.
- Raw chicken can have colors ranging from gray to non-skin yellow spots.
- If you start cooking spoiled chicken, it may remain opaque and not white.
Step 2. Smell the chicken
Raw chicken has a very strong odor when it is rotten (some people describe this odor as "sour" while others liken it to the smell of ammonia). If raw chicken has an unpleasant or strong odor of any kind, it is best to discard it.
Chicken may start to smell bad as it is cooked. If the food's odor seems less appetizing, it's best to discard it
Step 3. Feel the texture of the chicken
Is it slippery? The touch test is a little more difficult than the color or smell test because chicken is naturally slippery. However, if the chicken remains sticky after being washed, there is a good chance it is spoiled. If the chicken is unusually slimy, it is most likely rotten.
Method 2 of 4: Frozen Chicken
Step 1. Look for icing
If a thick layer of ice has formed around the chicken, then it is no longer good for consumption. The icing should be the thickness of the frost that forms inside the freezer when it has not been thawed for a while. A chicken that undergoes rapid freezing should not form icing (provided the process has been done correctly). If the ice is white, the problem could be a frostbite.
Step 2. Look for frostbite burn
A freeze burn has the appearance of a swelling or white mark that appears on the surface of the chicken that is not fat. It is rougher than the skin around it and is slightly raised.
While it's okay, a frostbite can make your chicken taste less pleasant
Step 3. Examine the color
It is more difficult to analyze the color of a frozen chicken. It can be opaque (similar to raw or cooked chicken), slightly gray or yellow due to fat. If the color is darker than gray, the chicken should be thrown away as soon as possible.
Method 3 of 4: Cooked Chicken
Step 1. Smell the chicken
The smell test can work for both cooked and raw chicken. However, it can be more difficult to distinguish the smell of spoiled chicken if it has spices and other condiments that mask its odor.
If the chicken smells like rotten egg or sulfur, it is a sign that it is rotten
Step 2. Look for color changes if possible
Sometimes it is not possible to perform this test if the chicken has been breaded or if its color has changed from being glazed or marinated. If white cooked chicken starts to turn gray, it is no longer safe to eat.
Step 3. Look for signs of mold
Mold is one of the most obvious signs that a chicken is rotting. If you find green or dark spots forming on the chicken, it is already quite rotten and should be discarded immediately, as even the smell of moldy chicken makes it sick.
Step 4. Taste the chicken before swallowing it
If you're not sure whether a cooked chicken is good or not, but you don't want to discard it without seeing if it can still be eaten, you can test it by carefully tasting it. Instead of chewing and swallowing the chicken right away, take a break and examine its flavor.
If the taste feels "odd" or a little sour, spit it out and discard the rest
Method 4 of 4: Stored Chicken
Step 1. Check the "expiration date"
This information is not always a good indication of whether raw chicken is good for consumption or not, as the "expiration date" only indicates how long the chicken can be sold. Rather than relying on the "expiration date", it's better to use it as a way of confirming whether or not an apparently spoiled chicken is overcooked.
If you buy fresh, refrigerated chicken from a supermarket and freeze it, it can last for up to nine months after that date (provided it is fresh when purchased)
Step 2. Check how the chicken was stored
Cooked chicken rots faster when exposed to air. When the chicken is poorly stored, the chances of it spoiling are greater.
- Chicken should be stored in shallow, airtight containers or in airtight plastic bags.
- Also, it can be wrapped in aluminum foil or plastic film.
- To remain safe for consumption, the whole chicken must be cut into smaller portions and any type of stuffing must be removed before refrigeration or freezing.
Step 3. Find out where and for how long the chicken is stored
The durability of the chicken will also depend on how you stored it. After the temp periods below, the chance of your chicken spoiling is much greater.
- When stored in the refrigerator, raw chicken should be used within a day or two, while cooked chicken can be eaten within three or four days.
- When stored in the freezer, cooked chicken remains good for consumption for up to four months while raw chicken can last for up to a year.
- If you can't tell for sure if your chicken is too "grey" or "sticky," it probably is and you should discard it.
- If the chicken is thawed out of the fridge, discard it.