Chitlins are the small intestines we use from the cow or pigs, which are mostly grilled and are highly appreciated in Latin American cuisine, but the important thing today is how to store chitlins.
Raw chitlins can be stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of 2 days, and if frozen, they can be between 3 and 4 months. If you cooked them, you could store them for 4 days in the fridge and 6 months in the freezer.
If you want to know the right ways to preserve chitlins, you must keep reading.
Keep raw chitterlings in the fridge
As a general rule, before cooking chitlins, these have to be marinated one day so that the meat softens and the spices are impregnated well. To do this, you have to refrigerate them until you cook them.
A recommendation that I can give you when buying chitlins is that you do not accept those with a dark brown tone. Instead, the chitterlings have a slight pink or light gray-white tone, and they are firm, nothing watery.
In addition, chitlins do not last long in the fridge. But in case you are going to prepare it soon, we advise you to follow these steps:
- Step 1. Clean the Chitlins.
Cleaning is a fundamental step, and you should always do it before cooking and, above all, before storing them.
In a bowl with plenty of water, pour a stream of vinegar, and wash the chitlins well. You can get rid of the fat with a yellowish or dark color.
The fat safe to eat is white, but you shouldn’t eliminate all the fat because the chitlins would lose all their flavor.
- Step 2. Wrap in plastic.
Wrap the chitlins with plastic film to prevent the smell from spreading, affecting the other foods.
If you want to store them marinated, instead of wrapping them, you could place a layer of film paper on the container before covering it.
- Step 3. Put inside an airtight container.
The airtight container will prevent Chitlins from becoming contaminated.
- Step 4. Store the Chitlins in the fridge.
Place the container with the Chitlins in the coldest area of your refrigerator to keep them in good condition for two days. 
How to freeze raw Chitlins?
Can raw Chitlins be frozen? Yes, of course. Freezing is the ideal way to preserve them if you want to save them for a season or have raw chitlins leftover and do not want to waste them since you know that you will not cook them soon.
To freeze the chitterlings, here you have the instructions.
- Step 1. Wash the Chitlins.
In a large bowl of water, add a stream of vinegar and wash the chitlins well. Get rid of the yellowish or dark fat, and preserve white fat.
- Step 2. Wrap.
If you have a vacuum-sealer machine, you can use it. It will be enough to wrap the chitlins firmly with plastic film and then add another layer if you do not have one.
- Step 3. Move to a container or bag to freeze.
Put the wrapped chitlins inside an airtight bag or container freezer-resistant.
- Step 4. Enter the storage date.
In this way, you have better control of chitlins storage.
- Step 5. Store the Chitlins in the freezer.
Now you are ready to freeze the chitlins for 3 or 4 months. 
How to store chitlins already cooked
In case you have cooked all the chitlins and you have leftovers, I will explain what you should do to store them in the best way and do not get bad:
- Step 1. Wait for the chitlins to cool down.
It is never good to store cooked food when it is still hot, especially if it is meat, since the internal steam would create moisture, which would lead to the proliferation of bacteria that would break down the chitlins more quickly.
- Step 2. Put the Chitlins inside an airtight bag or container.
In this way, they protect themselves from external contaminants that would accelerate their decomposition.
- Step 3. Tag.
Setting the storage date is a way to maintain control of stored food.
- Step 4. Store in the fridge or freezer.
If you are sure that you will eat the Chitlins soon, you can store them in the coldest area of your fridge for four days. If you need to extend its shelf life, you can freeze it for six months.
How to thaw and reheat Chitlins?
If you started to freeze raw Chitlins, the most advisable thing when defrosting them is to do it little by little; in other words, you need to pass the frozen chitlins to the fridge a day before cooking them.
If you put them at room temperature or in the microwave, the heat would cause the bacteria to activate and increase quickly.
If you want to reheat the cooked chitlins, you can do it in the oven. Put it at 380°F (200° C), and leave them between 10 to 15 minutes. You can put them directly in the oven if they are frozen, although they would take longer because they must first thaw.
You could also reheat them with the microwave by simply setting them between 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your equipment’s power.
How do you know if chitlins got bad?
If you want to determine if the chitlins you have saved were terrible, they should show the following signs:
- Terrible smell: this will be the first thing you notice. If they smell ugly, like rotten, the chitlins were damaged, and you should throw them in the trash.
- Mold: if they have white, black, or green spots or lint, the chitlins develop mold and are no longer safe.
- Bad taste: if they look good externally but have a bitter, rancid, or different flavor than usual, the best thing you can do is not ingest them and thus avoid intoxication.
Why does Chitlins decompose?
Chitlins are highly perishable, so they should not be too long at room temperature and must be kept in the constant cold if they are raw.
Due to the chitlins is the small intestine (which is usually obtained from the cow, although it can also be from pigs), and therefore, they have a small number of bacteria that are not harmful to the body.
However, bacteria multiply exceptionally quickly when storage conditions are not ideal, accelerating the decomposition process.
How long do chitlins last?
Since there are some product variations and different storage methods, I have this table where I summarized the information to check in an easier way how long they last.
|Refrigerated chitlins (raw)
|Frozen chitlins (raw)
|3 – 4 months
|Refrigerated chitlins (cooked)
|Frozen chitlins (cooked)
What is the best way to preserve chitlins?
If the chitlins are raw, it could be said that the best way to preserve them in freezing them, primarily if you know you will not cook soon.
They can be stored in the fridge as long as you are sure they will cook soon because otherwise, they could be damaged.
If you cooked the chitlins, you could keep them for a couple of more days if you store them in the fridge, or you can freeze them for a more extended period.
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