I have noticed that sometimes when I freeze chicken a large amount of water pours out of the chiken and settles/freezes on the chicken surface. From what I understand this is the result of ice crystals forming and damaging cells which then causes the liquid to pour out. Usually we see only a small amount of water pour out however somtimes I have noticed a lot of water pour out. I have noticed that when a lot of water has poured out if one marinades the chicken this seems to go deep inside the chicken, perhaps because of newly vacant space which becomes available for water.

I want to know, how can one ensure a large amont of denaturing occurs and a lot of water pours out during the freezing stage? I mean do you have to ensure the chickens are well hydrated in the first place, do you simply just slow freeze, can you freeze-brine-freeze-brine etc in order to get the desired result.

How can one bring out a lof of water when freezing?



Thanks for this answer. Can you please comment on a few things:

  1. I want a lot of water to come out since this suggest to me a lot of denaturation has occured. Since it is the ice crystals that do the damage, is it correct to assume that if there is more water present in the first place then the better the damage will be? In this case is there anyways i can increase the original amount of water that is present e.g. do you have to feed the chicken a lot of water or is there anything else you have to do?

  2. You say if the chicken is left unpacked then it will dry out(water will come out due to denaturation?) however you also say to put it in a bag. Is it better to just leave the chicken in the freezer without a bag or to use a bag? You have also mentioned not to use a bag, am i correct in assuming you mean do not use air tight bags or bags with less air? Again would more denaturation occur just leaving the chicken naked over using an air filled bag?

  3. Is it correct to say that once the chicken freezes then it is frozen and no more damage/denaturation will occur? If my freezer says it will freeze in 24hours, will using the bag as you have mentioned still causes freezing to occur over many days despite what the fridge manual says? If yes and if i check the chicken will i see more and more water over these days.

  4. Does the denaturation I am talking about cause the pores in the chicken to enlarge and if cooking a soup, does this cause more water/marinade to move into the chicken?

Many thanks

  • 2
    I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you are trying some radical, new, creative meat preparation similar to beef jerky. If your goal is not the desiccated meat but the water- have you considered just making broth? Nov 26, 2012 at 14:55
  • Hi Sobachatina, I have edited and added a few questions which basically seeks clarification on the points you have made. Hope you will answer. Many thanks Nov 26, 2012 at 23:36

2 Answers 2


An answer to your edited points.

Number 4. Pores don't do much during cooking. It is about cell walls and proteins. A pore is a channel constructed from zillions of cells (like a tunnel constructed from bricks). A cell is like a bubble (the cell wall) filled with liquid (the cell plasma). The cell wall is made from zillions of proteins, like a hat knitted from wool. In freezing, the plasma turns to sharp ice crystals and tears the cell walls apart (like poking holes in a hat).

Then under heat, the proteins unravel the way you could unravel a knitted hat if you tugged at it. If you cook the meat just a little, the proteins remain bushy and soak up liquid. If you overcook it, they stretch and start looking like a long, smooth thread and can't soak up water and/or cell plasma any more. The meat tastes dry and unpleasant.

Freezing the meat is just bursting the cell walls. Unravelling the proteins is denaturation. They are two different things.

Number 1. More water does indeed mean more damage to the cell walls. No denaturation happens there, as explained above. But you can't change the amount of water within the chicken cells in any way while it lives. This amount self-regulates, like blood pressure. If you feed the chicken more water, it will excrete more water, not store it in its cells.

Number 2. You want lots of air around the chicken if you want to get ice crystals buildup on its surface. That's why Sobachatina suggested an inflated bag - to keep air around it. Also, unpacked chicken will make your freezer dirty and contaminate other food with uncooked meat juices, which is dangerous.

Number 3. As far as I know, water ice expands while cooling from 0 to -4°C and then starts shrinking. Most damage is done while the crystals expand, so I suppose that most of the damage will be completed within the first 1-2 days (depending on how long it takes for the complete chicken to cool to -4°C).


A freezer is a very dry place and uncovered meat will eventually have all of its moisture pulled out of it. This is called freezer burn.

First of all- don't try the freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw idea. This would be a good way to start your own colony of interesting, meat-eating bacteria.

There are two techniques to minimizing freezer damage- freeze the food quickly to keep ice crystals small and seal it tightly to keep it from drying out. You should do the opposite.

Put your meat in a freezer bag and inflate it with air before sealing it. Then wrap the bag in a towel or other insulative cover. Freeze for a while. The chicken will freeze relatively slowly which will rip its cells up nicely. All the air in the bag will ensure that moisture is drawn out of the meat over the course of many days.

This will, of course, leave you with tough, inedibly dessicated bird meat and flavorless water. It's probably a delicacy in some culture somewhere.

You could experiment with the brine but I wouldn't. The salt in a brine will help keep meat proteins from over-coagulating when heated- it wouldn't have the same effect when the proteins are frozen and dried. At worst it would prevent water loss- at best it would just dry back out of the meat and you could have just frozen the brine without wasting the chicken.

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