Who would have thought the chicken could cause so much upset….stored in the wrong conditions, not cooked properly, cross contamination, the list goes on. Last year alone hundreds of thousands of people in the UK got food poisoning from chickens (extract from report by Tom Heap on Countryfile on BBC 1 25th January 2015).
A survey carried out by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) previously found that almost three fifths of shop bought fresh chickens tested positive for campylobacter.
At Farmer’s Choice we FREEZE all our meat. Freezing does not harm the chicken (or any other meat product) it preserves the meat, nutrition, texture and freshness. “Freezing is a proven effective intervention to control campylobacter contamination of poultry meat (extract taken from http://www.food.gov.uk.
A free range chicken is much more like a wild bird, in that it has much more meat on the legs than an indoor bird, largely due to the fact that it is able to roam around at will. The flavour will be more intense due to the diet – more natural habitual pecking.
All this chicken goodness can be enjoyed if you refresh yourself with the steps to safely cook a chicken.
- If properly packaged, frozen chicken will maintain top quality in a home freezer for up to 1 year. Be Aware – Freezing cannot reduce the number of bacteria naturally found in chickens. Freezing foods renders bacteria inactive but doesn’t actually kill anything. That means if your food went into the freezer contaminated, once thawed it will still harbour the same harmful bacteria.
- Thaw chicken in the refrigerator — not on the countertop or in cold water (Did you know that washing a chicken does not remove the bacteria, it can actually spread the bacteria. Spray from washing a chicken can travel up to 3 ft. That’s a lot of contamination area! It takes about 24 hours to thaw a 4-pound chicken in the refrigerator. Cut-up parts, 3 to 9 hours.
- Chicken may be safely thawed in cold water. Place chicken in its original wrap or water-tight plastic bag in cold water. Change water often. It takes about 2 hours to thaw a whole chicken.
- Always wash hands, countertops, cutting boards, knives and other utensils used in preparing raw chicken with soapy water before they come in contact with other raw or cooked foods.
- Free-range meat is lean, and that means that slower cooking times yield better results. Slow and low brings about a sublime roasted free-range chicken, where it could make a conventional one soggy and overdone.
- Skinless Breasts – Free-range chicken breasts are so moist and tenderly textured if they are done right! Here’s the Rules… Hot sear (pan-fry with butter or oiled BBQ) for 2 minutes per side …and then in to a 120ºC oven (convection if you have it) for 20 minutes. It doesn’t get any better than this!!
- Leg and Thighs – you should get consistent results if you cook like this… season, lay skin-side up and uncovered, then just bake (convection) at 175ºC for 2 hours. The skin crisps up so nice and the meat is SO tender and delicious!
Our chickens are not pimped when packed which may make them look a little flat, and if you are lucky enough, you might even get a left over feather or two.
Be safe and Enjoy!