Most people think they’ve eaten fresh chicken, but they haven’t. Chicken can be labeled as fresh if it has never been stored below 26 degrees Fahrenheit. Most meats start to freeze between 26 and 28 degrees Fahrenheit. If your butcher stores chicken at 26 degrees, it could still be partially frozen, which can affect the meat’s chemical structure.
Chicken is 75% Water Which Damages Meat As It Freezes.
The naturally occurring moisture content in chicken is 75%. When chicken starts to freeze, that water content expands, creating large crystals. Those crystals tear apart the meat’s muscle structure. This expansion causes the meat to lose some of its elasticity, which affects its texture and taste. This degradation can often result in a dryer, tougher tasting meat.
Cold Storage Prevents The Growth of Bacteria.
At Sunrise Farms, we store our chicken in coolers set to 34 degrees Fahrenheit. That temperature keeps the meat from freezing and minimizes the growth of bacteria that is capable of causing foodborne illnesses. Chicken that has never been frozen can last up to 10 days in the refrigerator when stored at 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Rule of thumb, the higher the fridge temperature, the shorter the shelf life of your chicken. If you keep your fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit, cook your chicken earlier.
Pick-Up Fresh, Never Frozen Chicken From Our Storefront.
We have fresh chicken available for pick-up Thursdays through Saturdays at our storefront in Stuarts Draft, VA. Check out our recipes for inspiration and stop by our storefront to pick-up a package to bake or throw on the grill. Take a look around the farm while you’re here and check out our new solar panels that fuel our feed mill and offices. Contact our experienced team with questions about our fresh chicken.