Chicken Tips & Hints

Every homemaker knows that using the best ingredients is a big part of putting together an unforgettable meal. That is why consumers in Zimbabwe trust Irvine’s chickens and eggs to keep their families happy and healthy. Consumers need to be wary of what to look out for in selection of eggs and chicken as well as storage of these products. Chicken like all fresh meat is perishable and should be handled with care to maintain top quality. Below are a few tips on buying and storing chicken which will help consumers out there to maintain food safety, quality and longer shelf life:

Grilling Chicken



  • Rubbing spices and seasonings onto chicken before grilling gives it high-impact flavour. If you blend the spices with oil first, you’ll have twofold success: The oil helps seal in the juices and prevent the chicken from sticking to the grate.
  • Basting is the hands-down secret to sensational wings. Make your own sauce by using sweet dates, apricot jam and tangy sherry vinegar, then know when to add it on (and when not to)! Since sugary ingredients can over-caramelize and burn, wait until the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Tender Chicken



  • Keep chicken from drying out in the refrigerator by keeping it tightly wrapped.
  • Leaving the skin on the chicken when cooking to help hold in juices and increase tenderness.
  • To keep breast area of chicken from drying out during roasting, place a piece of foil over this area. Remove during last 30 minutes of roasting time to allow the skin to brown properly.
  • Cook chicken to the proper temperature, because undercooking the chicken will cause it to be tough and overcooking the chicken causes loss of moisture.
  • Cutting meat across the grain will produce tender slices with shorter fibres.

Making Mayonnaise



If the mayonnaise separates after the oil is added, the mixture has broken. To bring it to a creamy state, add an egg yolk and 1 teaspoon tepid water to a clean bowl, and slowly add the broken mayonnaise while whisking constantly. Then, whisk in 1/4 cup more oil.

Cooking Chicken



  • Covered chicken takes longer to cook in the oven than uncovered chicken.
  • When frying, grilling, broiling, or sautéing chicken, remove pieces as they get done to avoid overcooking while finishing other pieces. White meat and smaller pieces, such as breasts and wings, will cook faster than dark meat pieces, such as legs and thighs.
  • Do not overcrowd chicken pieces when cooking. Leaving space between them will allow them to brown and cook more evenly.
  • Use a sharp knife when cutting or carving chicken to make the job a easier, especially when having to cut in the joint areas, and will provide neatly cut slices and pieces.

Thawing Chicken



  • Defrost chicken in the refrigerator, not on the kitchen table or in a dish full of water.
  • It takes about 24 hours to thaw an Irvine’s standard 1.3kg chicken in the refrigerator while portions will take about 3 to 9 hours depending on size.
  • For quick thawing, use a microwave and ensure that the chicken is cooked soon after thawing.

Egg Whites



To fold egg whites into a heavier mixture, use a rubber spatula, start with a stroke into the bowl, continue across the bottom, up the side and over the top of the mixture. Come up through the centre every few strokes and rotate the bowl often as you fold. Fold gently to maintain the volume.

Chicken Facts #3



Did you know?

  • Chicken is useful in controlling blood pressure.
  • Assists with growth and development of muscles.
  • Beneficial in managing and reducing weight.
  • Consumption of chicken instead of red meat lowers risk of cholesterol and heart disorders.

Egg Facts #3



Did you know?

  • Eggs are one of the least expensive and most balanced proteins.
  • They are good sources of Omega-3 and fatty acids.
  • They help reduce blood pressure.
  • They boost muscle development and strength.

Marinating Chicken



TOP TIP: If using a marinade for basting chicken, set some marinade aside before placing raw chicken in it to marinate. Never reuse marinade that the chicken was marinated in for basting.

Egg Facts #2



When & Why To Use Room Temperature Eggs #2
Recipes that involve beating eggs or egg whites, with or without sugar, into a stable foam – soufflés, meringues and sponge cakes – also specify room temperature eggs. That’s because eggs whip up to a greater volume when they’ve had a chance to warm up a bit, 20 to 30 minutes. Because it’s easiest to separate whites from yolks cleanly when they are refrigerator cold, this should be done when starting the recipe. Then let the whites stand at room temperature while you prepare the baking pan, equipment and other ingredients.

Storing Chicken



  • Ensure that you put your chicken straight into the freezer as soon as you get home. Never leave the chicken on the counter top or kitchen table at room temperature.
  • Fresh chicken should be kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator for not longer than two days.
  • If chicken is not to be used within two days, freeze it.

Egg Facts #1



When & Why To Use Room Temperature Eggs #1
Some baking recipes specify that the eggs or egg whites be at room temperature when added. However, for those that don’t specify room temperature eggs, it is best to use eggs straight from the refrigerator. In the case of recipes such as cheesecakes and other batters with a high fat content, adding cold eggs could re-harden the fat, making the batter appear curdled or lumpy, possibly affecting the texture of the baked product. To avoid this, remove the eggs from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before use, or put them in a bowl of luke warm water while assembling the other ingredients.

Buying Chicken



  • Do not buy chicken after its sell by date.
  • Unless the chicken is frozen, be sure to cook the chicken within 1-2 days of purchase.
  • The package weight helps you determine how much chicken to buy. A quick guide is that 500g of raw, bone-in, skin on chicken will serve two to three people while 500g of boneless skinless chicken feeds up to four people.