Chicken is a complete protein. It contains the essential amino acids in amounts sufficient for growth and development. Like all lean meats, chicken is a good source of B-vitamins. The dark meat of chicken is richer in riboflavin than the light, while the light meat is richer in niacin.

Chicken has low sodium content which makes it a particularly good choice for those on a low salt diet. Chicken's short fibres allow it to cook quickly and if microwaving, chicken does not toughen! Because it is a short fibred meat, it is easy to digest, making it an ideal food for children, the elderly and those with digestive problems.

Just because it contains a large percentage of fat, this does not mean that the skin is not nutritious. On the contrary, three ounces of skin contains more protein, calcium, phosphorous, iron, Vitamin A and less fat than three hot dogs. Chicken skin has negligible amounts of salt.

Storing Chicken

Cold Storage of Chicken

Refrigerator (4°C or 40°F)

Whole chicken: 2-3 days

Chicken pieces: 2-3 days

Cooked chicken: 3-4 days

Ground chicken: 1-2 days

Freezer (-18º or 0°F)

Whole chicken: 12 months

Chicken pieces: 6 months

Cooked chicken: 3 months

Ground chicken: 3 months

Thawing methods and times:

Wrapped, in refrigerator: 10 hours per kilogram, (5 hours per pound)

Wrapped, in several changes of cold water: 2 hours per kilogram, (1 hour per pound)

Microwave, defrost*: 10-15 minutes per kilogram (or according to microwave guidelines - 5 minutes per pound)

When defrosting in microwave, chicken should be loosely covered and pieces turned, separated and rotated several times during thawing to ensure even penetration.

Preparing Chicken

Cook thawed chicken within 48 hours.

The best method to test doneness of chicken is to use a meat thermometer. It should register 85C (185F) in the thigh muscle or 75C (165F) in the dressing of stuffed birds.

Without a thermometer: Pierce flesh with a knife tip, juices should run clear without any pink.