For those who are wondering how long the chicken salad lasts, the exact answer depends largely on storage conditions. It is a good practice to refrigerate it within a couple of years or preparation or purchase. To maximize its shelf life, the chicken salad should be refrigerated in airtight containers.
When it is properly stored, chicken salad can last anywhere from 3 to 5 days refrigerated. If you’re going to leave it at room temperature, chicken salad must be discarded after a couple of hours. This is because between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit bacteria begin to grow rapidly.
If you’re unsure whether or not to throw the chicken salad away, look for a slightly off odor, appearance, or mold. Do not taste it as this can lead to sickness and ill health.
At the same time, what should strictly determine the shelf life of the salad are the ingredients used. Chopped or cooked vegetables and mayonnaise can last for 5 days easily in a low moisture environment, preferably in an airtight container in the fridge. However, the nutritional value of vegetables can begin to degrade after two to three days.
As for the cooked chicken, it is recommended not to eat it after it has sat for three days in the fridge. One can risk eating it on the fifth day if there is nothing else to eat, but it should only be seen as a last resort.
For storage purposes, it is best to place it in a container with a cover. One valid test to determine whether or not your chicken salad is suitable for consumption is through the utilization of your senses.
Though it isn’t the perfect test, your senses are the most reliable instruments you have. A spoilt chicken salad shares various characteristics with other salads. These include discoloration, a rotten smell, and a moist and slimy texture.
The rotten smell can be caused by the chicken absorbing the flavors of the other ingredients such as onions, lettuce, and tomatoes. The discoloration comes about as a result of the naturally occurring enzymes in the salad ingredients which degrade and spoil the carbohydrates and protein.
Lastly, the slimy texture is the result of mold and bacterial growth. Chicken salads have high moisture content which, over time, becomes laboratory conditions for mold and bacteria to thrive.
How long does chicken salad last? – Final word
As a general rule of thumb, the chicken salad will only last as long as the fastest expiring ingredient in it. Chicken salad, in principle, can be frozen to extend its shelf life and then thawed later for consumption. However, it won’t be as fresh as during the time of preparation or purchase. It is easy for the thawed chicken salad to become runny and taste bad.
Before you use chicken in the preparation of the salad, make sure that you cook it properly at a minimum temperature of 165-degree Fahrenheit. One can make use of a food thermometer to assess the internal temperature of the chicken.
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