How to Package Chicken in Bulk
Recently I was able to jump in on a wonderful bulk buy that has filled my freezer and saved a bunch of money in our grocery budget. I purchased 40 pounds of chicken for $65.00. That’s $1.62 a pound!
We eat a lot of chicken at our house. I’d say that it is part of our meals at least 4 times a week. It goes into tacos, soup, and stew. We also grill it and have it with salad. You know how versatile it is and you probably do the same thing at your house too.
Chicken is going for $2.40 per pound in the local grocer right now so my bulk buy has saved $31 off my grocery budget, and frankly, I think it’s saved me a bunch of time too.
This is how I package my bulk buy chicken to get the most use out of it. I made them with generous portions so we would have leftovers so my husband could take lunch the next day.
First a note about safe food handling and proper cooking. This will help keep you and your family safe from foodborne bacteria. Follow the four food safety steps of USDA’s Food Safe Families campaign.
- Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often.
- Separate: Separate raw meats and poultry from other foods.
- Cook: Cook all poultry to an internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C).
- Chill: Refrigerate promptly.
Did you know that washing raw poultry before cooking it is not recommended. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces. This is called cross-contamination. Rinsing or soaking chicken does not destroy bacteria. Only cooking will destroy any bacteria that might be present on fresh chicken.
I like to remove as much of the skin and visible fat before I begin cooking and packaging. The “waste” pieces are placed in a bag and frozen until I can get it out on trash day.
I cooked 2 large slow cooker pots full of chicken (this is the one I have). This is going to allow me to package some precooked meals for busy nights. From these we will eat 3 dinners and 3 lunches, plus we froze 7 packages for the future. I love the convenience of being able to pull precooked chicken and quickly use it in recipes. I consider it much less expensive than purchasing canned chicken from the store. Even if I purchase those cans at Costco, it still costs a lot!
I add just enough water to cover the raw chicken and also add chicken seasoning mix from my spice cabinet. This adds variety to the meat but does not give it an intense flavor. If you are looking for inspiration for dinner night try this post from Hello Healthy – 12 Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes Under 370 Calories or 15 Deliciously Easy Slow Cooker Recipes from The Good Stuff. You can always check out our Pinterest Board Food Storage: Slow Cooker Recipes for even more inspiration.
Next I used my FoodSaver (Amazon) and packaged up enough fresh chicken for 10 meals. My machine has a “wet” setting for these kinds of items. I place enough for one meal (which in this case happens to be two large chicken breasts) in the bag and seal it on the wet setting. Using a FoodSaver will greatly reduce the chance of freezer burn in my meat. If you don’t have a FoodSaver, use heavy duty freezer bags and get as much air from the package as possible.
Be sure and mark the date you packaged your food and also a description. You’ll be surprised how everything looks alike once it’s frozen. These packages will last in the freezer for at least one year, but we will most certainly eat it long before that!
I ended up with quite a bit of chicken broth from by crockpot batches, so I froze three servings of broth for future batches of soup. The broth is placed in recycled yogurt containers and marked with the date I put in the the freezer.
Tell me about your experience. Do you purchase chicken in bulk and package it differently than I do? Share your ideas in the comments section below, I would love to hear your ideas for packaging bulk foods.