If you're going to be raising your own meat chickens, storing poultry successfully after butchering needs proper attention. The way you do it and the safety methods used while processing your chickens are extremely important.
If you don't pay close attention, you could end up causing real hazards for yourself. Here's a look at storing your poultry the right way, even when processing it at home.
The first consideration is making sure that your butchering station is as clean as possible. If fecal matter is ever released during the process, the chicken needs to be rinsed immediately and thoroughly, and the surface needs to be scrubbed right away.
Then butchering can continue. You want your chicken to have no chance of contamination.
Unless you're only killing one chicken at a time, you'll need to freeze some of your meat.
Storing poultry this way is quite easy, as long as you have a freezer large enough. Chest freezers or free standing units are common choices for storing poultry.
Make sure the chicken is cool, clean and dry when you do this, and either wrap the entire chicken, or chicken parts, in plastic wrap.
You can also use a vacuum sealing machine to bag your chicken, or place it in freezer safe containers. Properly wrapping or enclosing the meat prevents air from getting into contact with it and causing freezer burn, which can produce dry and tasteless meat.
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Chicken that you're intending to eat soon, can be stored in the refrigerator, instead. Use it within two to three days in order to make sure that your meal is safe.
Bacteria grows more slowly in the freezer, but that doesn't mean its growth stops completely in the cold.
If your chicken won't be used during this period of time, make sure you put it in the freezer. When you plan to cook it, take it out a day or so before you cook and place it in the fridge to defrost.
This will allow it to come up to temperature gradually and will discourage bacteria growth.
When the time comes to cook it, make sure that the center of the meat is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You can check this with a meat thermometer stuck into the flesh of the chicken.
Storing poultry the right way will help make your home raised meat safe and delicious. It's worth it to take the time to use proper safety procedures. Never let meat stay warm or exposed, and get it into the cold as fast as you can. That way, you'll know your chickens are ready to eat.