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.
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You can find information on my other bulk buys in these posts: Storing Sweet Onion – Sweet Potato – Yukon Gold Potato – Salsa Tomatoes – How to Package Dry Goods – Asparagus
I cook and shred chicken for freezing also. (Every month.) What I’m wondering is why you cover the chicken with water? I put just enough water to cover THE BOTTOM of my crockpot. Mine is large, oval, just like yours. When I first started using a crock pot, about 20 years ago, I thought you had to cover everything with liquid too. Then someone told me that you can cook in a crock pot without any liquid at all. Well, the very first time I tried that, my crock pot cracked down the center, into two pieces. I was very upset. So, the next time I cooked something that I did not want to cover in liquid, I added only a tiny bit of water. This worked and I’ve been doing it every since.
Thanks for the tip Cheryl, I will definately try that. My reasoning was simple, I didn’t want the chicken to dry out so I cover it. I also have the benefit of the broth afterwards. Thanks for stopping by!
Sam Creamer says
So how long do you leave them in the crockpot? Do you check the temp. after so many hours or do you already know how long? I get chicken from Zaycon and will try the crockpot method next time on some of it. I’ve just been freezing some and canning what I have left. Thanks for the info.
I find that on low heat it takes about 8 hours to cook a full crock pot of chicken.
I do this with Thanksgiving turkeys. I usually get an extra turkey just to save for later. I deep fry the turkey so when it first comes out of the fryer the skin makes a very unhealthy but delicious sweet/salty snack. Once the bird cools down the skin gets soggy so i put it in the dehydrator and make turkey skin jerky. I brine the turkey in salt & brown sugar so it has a great flavor. I package and freeze the meat the same way that you do. Then i put the bones in the crock pot covered with water and let it cook for 24 hours. This makes an excellent broth. Sometimes i get a 2nd batch out of the bones, but its not as good. Any small pieces of meat i was not able to get off the bones is flavorless at this point. So i take it and mix it with some rice & peas, run it through the meat grinder with the organ meat and feed it to the cats as a special holiday treat.
Now that’s using all of your bird! Thanks for stopping by Scott.
John Nichols says
I always buy family pack of chicken leg & thighs place each in a sandwich bag, then pack this into a large freezer bag, date it and also mark using tag from the chicken. Then each time I want chicken and I am alone, take out a single piece sometimes two, for lunch later. A older lady was shopping looking for sandwich bags but wanted resealable type, she then told me what she did for herself. I thought that’s a better idea than putting two pieces in each medium bag and placing in freezer, then unable to find the chicken. I believe this is great idea for a single person, now all meat I purchase goes into single portions.