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Chicken Safety Tips

I’m providing some chicken safety tips because dealing with chicken the right way is important to the health and safety of your friends, family, and you in preparing wonderful dishes and soups using fresh uncooked chicken. Hope these tips will help you as much as they have me.

Rinsing off Chicken

Contrary to popular believe you do not have to wash raw chicken. I know, that sounds weird, because I woudn’t think of not washing raw chicken before I use it, but any bacteria that was found present on the chicken will be destroyed by cooking.

Sticky Liquid in the Package

Most people think that the lovely (being sarcastic here) pinkish liquid always found in the packages of fresh chicken is blood. But, what it really is, is water that was absorbed by the chicken when it was initially chilled.

Blood is always removed from the poultry during the process of slaughter and the only blood that remains is a small amount found in the muscle tissue. If the chicken had been bled improperly, then the skin would have turned a cherry red color and would have been discarded at the plant where the chicken was processed.

Dealing with Fresh Chicken

Here’s a great chicken saftey tip! In order to prevent the growth of bacteria in chicken, it is kept cold while being destributed to the retail stores. Chicken should always feel cold to the touch when purchased. So, pick up your package of chicken last, before checking out your groceries at the register.

Make sure you or the bagger at checkout puts your chicken in a disposable plastic bag. This helps with any leakage that might occur and could possibly cross contaminate other foods. And then make sure you are going home next so you can keep the chicken cool.

Once you’ve arrived home, put the chicken away immediately in a refrigerator that maintains at least 40 °F, and use it within 2 days. The other option, or course, is if you are not ready to use the chicken right away, just freeze it at 0 °F. Frozen chicken will be safe indefinitely.

You can freeze the chicken in its original package or you can choose to repackage it. The reason to repackage chicken is if you plan on keeping it frozen for longer than 2 months. You can easily repackage it by wrapping the porous plastic with a heavy-duty, airtight foil, freezer paper or plastic wrap. Or, you can put the chicken in a new freezer bag or airtight container. Repackaging also gives you the opportunity to break up the chicken into smaller, more manageable portions.

Freezer Burn

Some of these chicken safety tips may seem like common sense, but knowing the reasons behind why we do what we do can be helpful too. Continuing on with proper packaging – when you wrap up chicken well, it will also prevent freezer burn. Freezer burn makes the chicken turn this really unattractive grayish brown color in certain spots. This happens when air reaches the surface of the chicken.

It won’t necessarily ruin the chicken – unless it is REALLY freezer burned – just make it look bad. All you need to do is cut the freezer-burned portions away before you cook it. If the chicken has been freezer burned too much, you’ll probably need to toss it. It’ll taste bad and be too dry.

Ready-to-eat Chicken

The day you come up blank with what to make for dinner and decide to go to the store and buy one of those rotisserie chickens, just make sure it’s nice and hot when you buy it. Then, serve it up within a couple of hours of purchasing it, or you can cut it up and refrigerate it. You should eat the chicken within 3 to 4 days either as a cold entrée or reheat it.

And guess what? You can freeze the leftovers and keep it for up to 4 months. I don’t know why you would do that though. The chickens aren’t that big and if you are anything like my family, it gets gobbled up pretty darn quickly!

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