Whether you're planning on buying a chicken for frying, grilling, or even eating, there are some things you should keep in mind. From the appearance and aroma to the dietary requirements of a specific breed, these tips will help you select a chicken that's right for you.
APPEARANCE & AROMA
Among the plethora of qualities that make up poultry, the appearance and aroma of a well-cooked bird is probably the most important to the consumer. In a nutshell, a chicken's skin is a requisite for the meat to be sold in the first place. It isn't surprising that consumers aren't likely to shell out a hefty sum for a piece of meat with skin as abrasive as a human paw. This, coupled with the fact that a chicken's skin isn't the most nutritious of all meats, entails a certain level of juggling. The question of a tradeoff is how to best allocate one's hard-earned dough. One solution to this quandary is to look at the chicken's skin as an indicator of what lies beneath.
A study of more than a dozen commercially available breeds of chicken revealed that the coveted golden brown hue was the most prevalent. The best part is that the sexiest of the beasts can be had for a price. Using a judicious combination of neo-traditional breeding techniques, poultry experts are resolving one of the industry's biggest mysteries.
Buying a fresh bird is an experience in and of itself, but you should also know how to keep it fresh. The best way to do this is to keep it in a refrigerator at around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping it at this temperature should keep it fresh for a long time to come. A cooler temperature should also prevent it from going off its manna food. This will allow you to cook up a storm, while also saving you money on your electricity bill.
A nice tip is to keep your chicken in the refrigerator so it isn't exposed to humidity. This is especially important if you plan on using it in a recipe. Aside from keeping it fresh, the right temperature will also keep it juicy. The best part is that your chicken will be safe to eat for as long as you keep it fresh.
While you're at it, a quick flip through your pantry will reveal all sorts of goodies that are safe to eat as long as you keep them locked up.
Whether you are buying a whole or a cut chicken, there is a certain process to be followed to chill it before processing. How you chill your chicken can affect its quality and flavor. In addition, the chilling process can also affect the microbial community of the final product.
There are two main types of chilling methods. One is water immersion and the other is air chilling. These methods differ in the amount of water that is absorbed into the meat. Water immersion chilling involves submerging the chicken in cold water while air chilling uses air to chill the chicken.
Both methods had similar effects on the fatty acid profiles of the chicken. However, the chicken chilled using AC had lower concentrations of spoilage-associated fatty acids, which have been associated with color challenges and shelf-life issues.
Water chilling also decreased Shannon's diversity, an indicator of microbial diversity. The microbial community of chicken displayed for three days was dominated by Pseudomonas.
The average temperature of the carcass was lowered from a high of 4degC to a low of 2degC. The carcass was monitored regularly with a Multi-trip Data Logger; in Temprecord, New Zealand.
Depending on the type of chicken you purchase, you might want to consider the right type of beak trimming. Some chickens may need to have their beaks pruned because their upper beak is longer than their lower one. The correct beak trimming will help your chicken to be able to scratch and peck. This is particularly important if your chicken has a Scissor Beak, which is a condition that can cause regular pecking to be hampered.
You can use a fingernail file to gently file the top of the beak, or you can use a nail clipper to cut the top of the beak. For a more thorough beak trimming, you may want to consider getting an emery board. The emery board will show you how to file down the beak to its correct length.
You might also want to trim your chicken's spurs, which are leg-bone outgrowths. Spurs are not only a handy dandy for protecting your bird from other birds, but they are also packed with live tissue. Depending on the size and type of spurs, you may want to trim them at least once a week.
RAISED WITHOUT ANTIBIOTICS
Buying chicken raised without antibiotics is a great way to support livestock producers. It doesn't cost much and can save consumers money. It's available at virtually all chains. It's a great way to help prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance. Buying meat raised without antibiotics is also a great way to avoid a public health crisis.
Chickens raised without antibiotics are not given antibiotics through water or feed. They are not given antibiotics through injections, and they are not given antibiotics through vaccinations. Instead, poultry producers are using improved hygiene and other alternative treatments.
“Raised without Antibiotics” is not a government program. It is a labeling system. It was developed to draw a distinction between chickens raised with and without antibiotics. This labeling system was developed without the input of the public.
In order to obtain the “Raised without Antibiotics” label, producers have to provide proof that the animal was raised without antibiotics. They must also submit a one-time application to the Food Safety and Inspection Service. They will need to provide documentation showing that the chicken was not given antibiotics at any point during its lifetime.
Compared to conventionally raised chicken, certified organic chicken is a more expensive option. It is also difficult to find organic chicken that meets the requirements of the label.
The USDA's organic label prohibits the use of synthetic fertilizers, industrial pesticides, antibiotics, steroids, and GMOs. These substances are also prohibited in animal feed, which should include organically produced grains.
The USDA organic rules also require organic poultry operations to optimize the recycling of nutrients and to prevent water contamination. They also require that birds have access to the outdoors. However, the number of birds allowed to spend time outside is not specified in the law.
Some producers encourage their chickens to spend time outdoors. They can do this through pasture-raised chickens or by building a screened-in porch.
However, the organic rules are very vague about how much time a bird must spend outdoors. The time spent outside is not stated by law, but most producers agree that chickens must have access to the outdoors year-round.
Organic poultry farms are inspected by a third-party certification body annually. This can be a nonprofit agricultural organization or a state department of agriculture.
Enhanced chicken is chicken that has been injected with a liquid solution during processing. The solution may contain sodium, nitrites, MSG, broth, or water. This “plumping” process increases the water content of the chicken and adds weight. It also preserves the meat's flavor and keeps it juicy.
This solution is usually high in sodium. However, some chicken companies are not required to disclose the additives that are used. They may instead label the product as all-natural.
Enhanced chicken has been injected with a saltwater solution, which gives it a salty flavor. It has also been shown to raise the sodium content of meat. This process is commonly referred to as “plumping” and has been used for years.
Sodium has been linked to health problems, including high blood pressure. A 4-ounce serving of enhanced poultry may contain up to 440 mg of sodium, more than a fifth of the daily recommended allowance. Enhanced chicken may also list “natural flavor” as an ingredient, which is usually sugar.
However, many consumers do not realize that a significant amount of water is added to meat during processing. Some companies add up to 15 percent water. The amount of water can also vary between different chicken products.
Veggie-fed chicken is a term that is used to describe chicken that has been raised with a vegetarian diet. They are usually fed a special vegetarian blend feed that does not contain any animal by-products.
Vegetable-fed chicken is healthier and tastes better than conventional chicken. They are also rich in antioxidants and protein. The flesh is juicy and tender.
The vegetarian-fed claim is made by many meat producers. To make this claim, they must submit a one-time label application to the USDA. They must also provide documentation of the animal's diet. If the record proves that the animal has been fed a vegetarian diet, they can make the claim.
Vegetable-fed chicken is usually raised in confinement and fed a vegetarian diet. However, this does not necessarily mean that the chickens were healthy. They were most likely living in cramped conditions.
In addition, they are not raised on pasture. Vegetable-fed chicken is usually fed soybeans or wheat. These grains are grown in naturally fertile soil without being treated with chemicals. The meat is also ten times more nutritious and tastes better than commercially raised chicken.