Follow these tips for buying and cooking chicken:
– Make sure chicken is fresh by checking the “sell-by” date, which is seven to 10 days after the chicken was slaughtered. If properly refrigerated, the chicken will remain fresh two to three days after the “sell-by” date.
– Tightly wrap chicken to keep it from drying out in the refrigerator. Dry chicken is tough chicken.
– Select chickens that are plump and moist, with skin free of blotches or patches.
– If buying fresh, avoid meat with ice formations, a sign that the meat was frozen previously.
– Leave skin on the chicken while cooking to hold in the juices, even if you discard the skin before eating to save calories.
– Always cook chicken to the proper temperature. Undercooked chicken is tough – and can cause food poisoning – and overcooked is dry.
– Check for doneness with a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh or breast. Chicken is done at 170 degrees.
– Let roasted chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving to allow juices to distribute evenly.
– Cut meat across the grain to produce tender slices.
What chicken labels mean
So many chickens, so many choices.
Today’s consumers can pick from a variety of chicken. Here are definitions of the top three choices:
Free-range: Chickens are allowed to move about freely and often are fed a special vegetarian diet that’s free of hormones and antibiotics. However, there are no regulations for what qualifies as free-range.
Organic: Chickens are raised on a certified-organic farm and fed certified-organic feed. According to USDA requirements, organic chickens must be fed additive-free diets, be raised under specific and humane conditions and not be treated with antibiotics.
Kosher: Refers to how the chicken is slaughtered and processed, not how it’s raised.