Your guide to everything you need to know about buying, storing, and cooking chicken
What is chicken?
Chicken is a type of poultry available in many sizes and varieties, fresh, frozen, and pre-cooked.
How to Buy:
Choices: broiler-fryers: weigh 2 ½ -4 ½ lbs.; Rock Cornish game hen weigh 1-2 lbs.; roasters weigh 5-7 lbs., roast whole; Capons: male chickens weigh 4-7 lbs. roasted. Stewing/baking hens: 2-5 lbs. Cock/Roosters: mature males; need long, moist cooking. Chickens are sold in parts: breasts, legs, thighs, wings, livers, hearts, necks, gizzards.
How to Read the Label:
Fresh: any raw poultry never kept below 26°F. Raw poultry at 0°F or below must be labeled “frozen” or “previously frozen”.
Organic: grown without antibiotics, raised with continuous access to outdoors; not genetically modified, irradiated or cloned.
Kosher: Slaughtered humanely according to kosher laws.
Raised without antibiotics: implies it has not received any antibiotics; USDA does not verify claims; labels used at discretion of manufacturer.
Free-Range: only means animals had access to open areas a minimum of 5 minutes per day.
Hormone-Free: a misnomer as the USDA prohibits all hormones in poultry.
How to Use: Roast, stew, grill, fry or use for soup. Meat is delicate and absorbs flavorings and spices well.
How to Store: Refrigerate at 40°F. Use in 1 or 2 days, or freeze at 0°F in original package or repackage, double wrapped. Refrigerate all cooked chicken and use within 2 days.
Health Benefit: Low sodium, good source of vitamin B6, phosphorus, niacin, selenium, and protein.
Smarter Shopping: Purchase the whole chicken to save money, and look for chicken without added salt water solutions.