Choosing Poultry

Whether fresh or frozen, look for well-shaped plump birds that have blemish free, light, even-coloured skin. That of fresh birds should look moist but not wet; wetness can indicate the bird has been partially frozen. Feed and breed can affect the colour of the skin and the flavour of the meat.
WHEN SELECTING younger birds gently bend the tip of the breastbone, it should be flexible
SELECT BIRDS with moist, even coloured skin, there should be no signs of bruising or feathers
MAKE SURE the legs are pliable and the skin intact
THE BODY SHOULD be compact, well rounded in shape with plump, firm breasts
THE BIRD SHOULD smell fresh, smells from the wrapping should disappear quickly
Most supermarket birds are conventionally reared and have a consistently bland taste. Free-range birds, which are more expensive, are more flavourful as a result of their varied diet & free roaming conditions. The words “free range”, “traditional free range” or “free range total freedom”, on labels all indicate the birds have been allowed to grow in specially designed houses, however the number of birds per square metre varies. When choosing frozen birds make sure the wrapping is sealed & intact and that there are no ice crystals or discolouration – a sign of freezer burn on the skin.
Remove the original packaging from a fresh bird then place on a rack over a plate. Cover loosely and store in the refrigerator (1-5 C) away from cooked meats. Store any giblets separately in a covered bowl. Always check the label on frozen birds & portions for freezer storage times. Frozen poultry must be defrosted completely before cooking. Thaw in the original packaging on a plate in the refrigerator allowing 3-5 hours per 450g. Remove any giblets as soon as possible. Cook the bird with in 12 hours of thawing and do not refreeze. Raw poultry is susceptible to bacterial growth so clean work surfaces and all preparation utensils after use. To store cooked poultry, cool it quickly then cover and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.