Raw or cooked chicken can be stored in a refrigerator for a few days, though it’s important to prevent raw chicken juices from leaking and contaminating other foods. Ensure that chicken remains in its original packaging (which should be vacuum-sealed or tightly-wrapped) until it is ready to be cooked.
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Next: How to Freeze Chicken
While freezing will make your chicken less tender and juicy, it is the perfect way to store the family-sized pack you bought at Costco last weekend. Remove the chicken from its original packaging and rewrap it tightly using aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper. Double wrap if you are planning to store the chicken for more than two months. Ground chicken can last up to three months in the freezer, while chicken pieces can last up to nine.
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Next: How to Thaw Chicken
You should never thaw chicken at room temperature, as it is highly susceptible to bacteria growth. Frozen chicken should either be thawed in the microwave, in the refrigerator, or in cold water (which should be changed every 30 minutes).
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Pork fares best in the freezer if packaged with freezer-friendly materials like waxed paper, aluminum foil, or heavy-duty plastic bags.
Wrap any meat tightly so that air does not escape and freeze at 0°F. Generally, fresh cuts of pork can last up to six months, while ground pork can last up to three.
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Pork is easiest to thaw when placed in the refrigerator in its original wrapping. Small roasts will take three to five hours per pound, while larger roasts can take up to seven hours per pound. Thawing ground pork depends entirely on the thickness of its packaging.
It is safe to cook frozen or partially-frozen pork, but its cooking time may take 50 percent longer. Frozen pork should not be cooked in a slow cooker.
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Sealed pork products can typically last in the fridge for two to four days, with ground pork having a slightly shorter shelf life at one to three. Ham or other smoked pork products like bacon can be stored for up to a week, though this only applies to products that aren’t vacuum sealed or prepared with preservatives. The latter can obviously last a lot longer.
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Next: How to Store Fresh Sausage
How to Store Fresh Sausage
Fresh sausage must be consumed or frozen within one to two days of purchase. They can be stored in their original packaging, but refrain from opening the package until you’re ready to cook. The easiest way to tell if a sausage has gone bad is its smell. Discard of anything that smells foul.
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Next: How to Freeze Fresh Sausage
How to Freeze Fresh Sausage
Sausage can be kept in its original packaging, but re-wrapped in aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper to prevent freezer burn. A frozen fresh sausage’s optimal flavor will last one to two months beyond its initial freeze date, though properly packaged sausage can last significantly longer.
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Next: How to Cook Fresh Sausage
How to Cook Fresh Sausage
To cook sausage in its traditional form (whole and with casing), spray a skillet with cooking spray and set the heat to medium-high. Add the sausages and allow their sides to brown. Continuously flip the sausages with tongs until they are browned evenly. Lower heat to medium-low and carefully had half a cup of water to the skillet. Cover the sausages and allow to simmer in the water for 12 minutes or until the they are cooked through.
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Next: How to Store Chicken
In New Orleans, gumbo is as ubiquitous as Sazeracs and jazz. This version, which Louisiana home cook Whitmire adapted from Cajun Delights, a down-home cookbook sold at a festival and given to her as a newlywed, is thickened by a dark roux and filled with smoky Cajun andouille sausage and chicken.
What to buy: Frozen okra can be found in most supermarkets; you can substitute fresh okra. Andouille is a smoked pork sausage that can be found in many gourmet markets or online at CajunGrocer.com. Look for Cajun seasoning in most supermarkets, or make your own. We recommend topping off your meal with our classic King Cake recipe.
Need a quicker option? Try our easy Chicken Gumbo recipe and have it on the table in 40 minutes.
Read more about gumbo.