The Ultimate Chicken Handbook
A complete guide to picking and cooking this dinner staple.
Picking a ChickenWith so many confusing claims―natural, organic, certified humane―it’s hard to sort out which one is right for you. Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., a senior scientist and a policy analyst at the Consumers Union, in Yonkers, New York, decodes the package labels.
Natural: No artificial ingredients were added during processing. The bird may have been fed antibiotics.
Organic: Raised without antibiotics, these chickens were given only organic feed (grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides), with no animal by-products.
Certified humane: The chickens’ living conditions were above federal standards. They were fed no animal by-products and no antibiotics, except when ill.
Free-range: Although the term implies that the bird roamed free to eat a varied diet (which adds to its flavor), this claim does not have to be verified. To be sure the bird had access to the outdoors, look for both “free-range” and “certified humane” labels.
Kosher: These chickens were raised and slaughtered following Jewish dietary rules. Because kosher processing involves hand salting, the meat is often saltier than others.
Next: The Cuts
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