The journey from farm to table is a long one and can be full of mystery for most shoppers. With current labeling practices being somewhat ambiguous, it can be hard to determine what is genuinely high-quality when choosing the best poultry for our families, either when we order fresh poultry online or in-store.
In this blog post, we’ll examine how to determine high-quality chicken and some insight into the difference between farming practices.
The Difference Between Chicken Breed and Poultry Types
There is a range of chicken types used for different purposes, so it’s essential to distinguish when shopping at places such as your local fresh food market as they all vary. These include free-range, battery hens, and many more chicken breeds and poultry types that are used in different ways.
The highest quality chicken breed is generally thought to be the free-range or organic varieties. These birds have access to the outdoors, receive a balanced diet likely supplemented with natural herbs and vegetables, and often produce eggs without added hormones or antibiotics.
The most common breed used for consumption is the broiler chicken, these are specifically raised for their meat. They require less space than alternative breeds and may contain additives or hormones that speed up their growth times.
Benefits of Free-Range Chickens for Healthier Meat
Eating healthy is something many of us strive for, and free-range chickens offer the perfect choice in poultry. Free-range chickens can roam freely outdoors to provide access to natural sunlight, fresh air and exercise that gives the birds more flavour than their conventional counterparts.
Research has demonstrated that these types of chickens have a higher omega-3 content in their meat and eggs compared to other varieties, which offer improved nutritional value. With their juicy texture and delicious taste, it’s no wonder why these chickens are becoming so popular. Not only do they provide healthier options for our diets, but they also support sustainable agricultural practices.
The Importance of Chicken Feed for Flavour and Nutrition
The foundation of any great dish starts with the ingredients. This is particularly true when it comes to chicken. Ensuring that your chickens are given the best possible nutrition will not only play an essential role in their health, but it will also directly affect how the meat tastes when served.
While some might think all feed is created equal, that isn’t the case, different feeds result in different nutrition profiles for your chicken, and higher quality feed will also taste better. If you’re looking for higher quality chicken, then aim to source pasture-raised poultry that is allowed to roam and eat a natural diet consisting of bugs, grass and worms. This will give you much better results in terms of nutrition and flavour than its grain-fed counterparts.
The Difference Between Humanely Raised Chickens and Factory Farmed
Humanely raised chickens live better, healthier lives than those raised in captivity through factory farming. They are well-cared for and can access plenty of fresh air, clean water, and sunlight. Because these chickens can live in a way that is more species-appropriate, they naturally produce better-quality poultry.
Factory-farmed poultry often is kept in crowded environments indoors without access to sunlight or fresh air. This creates an environment where disease can spread, and the birds are kept in conditions of severe stress. Furthermore, their diet is often supplemented with various chemicals and antibiotics that affect the taste and nutrition of their meat.
Knowing all of this information will help to ensure that you are getting the best quality poultry when doing your weekly shopping. No matter what type of poultry or breed you select, understanding the various factors that go into a bird’s health and flavour can be instrumental in creating delicious meals.
With the proper knowledge, you can pick out high-quality birds, whether from a farmer’s market or a supermarket store. Eating healthy and humanely raised chickens can be better not only for our health but also for the environment. With these simple tips, you can ensure you’re eating the best poultry possible.