Most people know that preparing meals at home is healthier than eating fast food. However, the quality of ingredients you buy at the store can impact your health in big ways. Chicken is a staple food many people enjoy. Here are a few things to consider when buying chicken to prepare at home.
Also, check out this huge roundup post of AIP Chicken Recipes for recipe inspiration.
Fresh, raw chicken should be pinkish in color. It should not have any bruising or damage to the skin, as this can affect the meat’s freshness. The texture should be plump and springy—when you press on the meat, it should spring back.
Double-check the packaging to make sure there are no small holes or tears. If the plastic seal is compromised, the chicken will likely be spoiled.
Minimal Package Liquid
The excessive liquid in the package means that the chicken was likely cooled with a method known as water immersion. This process results in soggy, waterlogged chicken. Once in the tray, the chicken expels the excess liquid, resulting in the packaged liquid you see on the shelf. Unfortunately, you’re likely to end up with soggy, bland chicken.
Minimal package liquid, however, is an indicator that the chicken was cooled with air chilling. This method does not affect the flavor or texture of the chicken and does not expose the chicken to any unnecessary chemicals.
How It Was Raised
What the chicken was fed and how it was raised influences the quality of its meat. There are many markers that can inform you of how the suppliers raised the chicken.
- Raised without antibiotics—this marker indicates that the chicken was never administered antibiotics. Antibiotic-free, however, means that the producer must wait a certain amount of time to make sure the antibiotics have left the chicken’s system.
- Vegetable fed—this means that the chicken’s diet never included animal byproducts. This is worth noting, as some producers cut costs by feeding their chickens food consisting of animal byproducts.
- Certified organic—this means chicken producers are required to comply with the USDA’s National Organic Program. One factor included under this designation is that the chickens are fed with organic grain.
If you’re interested in learning more about ethical business practices when it comes to raising chicken, check out this article from Bachman Family Farms. It details the chances they took when deciding to raise chickens, and the ethical practices they use, such as allowing their chickens access to pastureland.
There are many factors to consider when choosing chicken to prepare at home, including the ethics of the company producing and providing them.
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