Poultry Buying Guide
Types of Poultry
Poultry Buying Tips:
• Check the best-before date on fresh poultry
• Ensure the packaging does not have any holes or tears
• Check the ends of the bones — the more pink in colour, the fresher the meat
• Check the colour and smell of the meat and make sure it is cold to the touch to ensure it has been stored properly
• When buying frozen poultry make sure it is solidly frozen with no freezer damage or ice crystals on the surface of the packaging
• Freezer burn appears as grey-brown spots on the meat and those areas should be cut away before or after cooking
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are one of the most versatile cuts of meat you can have in your kitchen. They can be poached, fried, sautéed and even stuffed with other ingredients for baking. Chicken and turkey breasts are widely available and can be purchased either de-boned or with the bones still in place, though boneless breasts will cost a little more. Breast meat can become dry if overcooked, which is why it’s often used in casseroles and stews, or cooked using marinades and basting sauces.
The entire wing is all white meat but composed of three sections: the drummette, mid-section and tip. Wings are economical and a fun finger food for family meals or parties. They can be cooked in a wide variety of ways including barbecuing or baking in the oven. Regardless of method, a hearty sauce or strong dry rub is always a great way of adding flavour.
The drumstick is dark meat and makes up the lower part of the leg below the thigh. You can find drumsticks in various sizes from finger food size to go along with wings, to larger drumsticks for family meals. The dark meat of drumsticks makes them a great choice for searing on the grill or in the oven because the skin will quickly crisp over to lock in juices and flavour. The higher fat content also helps keep the meat moist.
Thighs are flavourful and budget friendly. The thigh is the upper part of the leg and is also considered dark meat. They are extremely versatile and can work well in almost any recipe that calls for chicken. Thighs are also available boneless, so they can be flattened to use as cutlets, sliced in casseroles, or cut into chunks for kebabs.
Poultry Stock +
Homemade poultry stock is easy to prepare, economical and can be stored for several months in your freezer. It is made from slowly simmering water, a variety of vegetables, herbs and the carcass, bones and meat of any roasted poultry. Add the giblets and neck for a flavourful stock that is tastier and less salty than stock cubes.
Poultry Handling & Storage Tips:
• Fresh poultry can be stored in the refrigerator for one or two days before cooking but should be put in the freezer if being kept longer
• Store raw poultry in a plastic bag or container that will hold any leaking juices
• Thaw frozen poultry in the refrigerator, not at room temperature
• Thaw frozen chicken in the microwave but it must be cooked immediately
• Don’t rinse raw poultry prior to cooking to keep bacteria from splashing around your kitchen
• Wear disposable gloves when handling raw poultry or wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water
• Wash plates, all utensils, cutting boards and countertops well after exposure to raw poultry
• Well-wrapped poultry can be kept in the freezer for up to a year