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Chicken

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Preview of Chicken

Available

January 1 - December 31

Harvest Period

January 1 - December 31

Chickens were first domesticated around 7000 BC in India and East Asia. The birds, used for both eggs and meat, then spread to West Asia and Africa. Historians know chickens played an important nutritional role in many cultures--their bones were even found in Egyptian tombs. Today, there are more chickens in the world than any other bird.  

 

Selecting and Storing

 

Chickens are classified for sale as fryers, broilers, or roasters according to weight. Fryers are the smallest and usually sold in pieces. Broilers are larger, and roasters are the biggest and usually most expensive birds. Whole chickens usually cost less per pound than chicken pieces that have had the bones and skin removed.

 

The parts of the chicken vary in taste and appearance and fall into two categories: white meat (breast and wing) and dark meat (drumstick or leg and thigh). Some people also eat the liver, kidneys, heart, gizzard, and neck; and the bones and cartilage can be used for soups.

 

Chicken should be kept in the coldest part of the fridge and used within two to three days or frozen and used within six months. Frozen chicken that has been thawed should not be refrozen.

 

Take care when handling raw chicken. Leave it in its original packaging to prevent the spread of bacteria. Carefully wash all utensils and cutting boards that come into contact with the raw chicken and cook it thoroughly to kill any bacteria that may be present.

 

Nutritional Information

 

Chicken’s relative affordability and strong nutritional profile have made it one of the most widely consumed protein sources in North America. Chicken contains iron, phosphorus, vitamins B6 and B12, and is a good source of niacin and selenium.

 

½ large, roasted chicken breast (86g), with bone and skin removed, provides 142 calories, 3g fat, 0g carbohydrate, and 27g protein.

 

3 ounces (84g) of roasted and deboned dark meat provides 170 calories, 9g fat, 0g carbohydrate, and 24g protein.

 

How to Use

 

Chicken is used in countless ways all over the world. Chicken can be fried, roasted, poached, broiled, and baked. It can also be ground, mixed with spices, and made into sausage or used for burgers, tacos, and other dishes that call for ground meat. Once the meat has been removed from a whole chicken, the carcass can be boiled in water with onion, carrot and celery to make stock for soups, rice, and other dishes. 

 

Breeds

 

Today's commercial meat chickens descend from only a few lines – White Plymouth Rock and White Cornish being the most popular.  The numerous modern varieties are hybridized strains bred for specific purposes, like size and maturation time, and their names will reflect the breeding companies that developed them.