K&N's - a founding pillar and beacon for Pakistan's Poultry Industry - started in 1964 with a single minded objective of
providing better nutrition through poultry for Health and Happiness of the Nation. History
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HealthWise™ cooking means paying attention to your preparation methods from the beginning to the end by practising simple, but important rules to keep your food wholesome and safe. Now that you have properly stored and thawed chicken, we can focus on assisting you prepare a good meal for you and your family.
Follow these general preparation rules in the kitchen:
Always wash your hands with hot soapy water before handling any meat or food product.
Wood is porous, therefore refrain from using wooden cutting boards as they absorb juices and are hard to clean thoroughly. Use only plastic and other non-porous cutting boards.
Never put cooked food or other uncooked, but otherwise ready-to-eat food such as fruits and salads on surfaces where uncooked meat has been kept or prepared.
Wash hands, utensils and preparation surfaces with soap or sanitiser after coming in contact with uncooked meat.
Paper towels should preferably be used to clean kitchen preparation surfaces and then thrown away instead of using a cloth. If you must use a piece of cloth, then it should immediately be kept away for washing.
Always keep cleaning chemicals, poisons and pesticides away from food.
Thawing frozen chicken
Blast frozen uncooked chicken may be thawed and refrozen, but there may be some loss of quality due to moisture loss through defrosting. Frozen chicken can be thawed in several ways to bring it out of the deep chill. Thawing frozen chicken in the refrigerator or microwave are the safest methods. Never thaw frozen chicken on the kitchen counter.
As explained earlier, in order to maintain quality avoid re-freezing uncooked chicken which you have already thawed. Therefore, first estimate quantity required for cooking so that whatever quantity you thaw is cooked, then proceed with thawing chicken. Follow any of three different thawing methods described below:
Thaw frozen uncooked chicken in a covered container on lowest shelf to prevent it from dripping on cooked food.
Large items/quantity may require a day or more to thaw.
This method is not effective for thawing large quantities. For smaller quantities, follow defrosting instructions in the manual of your microwave oven. Usually defrosting times are approximate as microwave ovens vary.
Use this method only if thawed item will be used immediately in another cooking process, or if you will continue cooking immediately in the microwave.
Place plastic wrapped frozen chicken in a sink full of cold tap water. Do not use this sink for other work during thawing process. Ensure thawing water does not splash on other food or food preparation surfaces.
Remove chicken from sink immediately after thawing, then sanitise sink and other utensils used. The product should thaw within couple of hours; cook immediately upon thawing.
Remember that chicken thawed by any method above is best cooked before re-freezing.
Once chicken has been stored, thawed and prepared following HealthWise™ guidelines, any cooking method can be used. However, temperature is very important, therefore it is advisable to use a meat thermometer for checking meat temperatures to ensure accuracy.
Some helpful tips:
Covered food takes longer to cook in the oven.
Allow space between pieces in baking pans.
More pieces in the pan will take longer to cook.
Cook chicken until juices run clear and to recommended internal cooking temperature.
Bring sauces, soups, gravy and curry to a boil when re-heating.
If a marinade will be used to baste a chicken while cooking, divide the marinade into two separate containers. Use half to marinate, the other half to baste. Do not reuse marinating liquid to baste your chicken.
To ensure wholesomeness, chicken and other meat should be cooked to the proper temperature. Internal temperature of chicken should be checked using a clean and accurate meat thermometer. Be sure to clean the thermometer again right after using it.
To check temperature accurately, insert thermometer into thickest part of meat, and take reading when needle stops moving. For bone-in chicken, take temperature next to the bone.
Fully cooked chicken should be heated to an internal temperature of 62°C (145°F).
Chicken breast should be cooked to an internal temperature of 76°C (170°F).
Wings should also be cooked to the same temperature of 76°C (170°F).
Thighs, drumsticks or other parts should be cooked to an internal temperature of 81°C (180°F).
Whole chicken should reach an internal temperature of 81°C (180°F) as measured in the thigh.
Ground chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 76°C (170°F).
Even when chicken has been cooked to your requirements, by following all the above guidelines to ensure food safety and wholesomeness to this point, your job as a HealthWise™ Cook is not over yet. After all your hard work and attention to detail, your culinary handiwork will be most appreciated when your cooked products are eaten.
Therefore, there are still things to keep in mind to ensure your food stays wholesome until consumed.
Temperature is still vital:
If food is stored between 5°- 60°C (40°-140°F) known as food spoilage zone for over two hours, food spoilage is most likely to occur and should be discarded. Food should be stored at this temperature zone for maximum two hours. After that, it should be promptly refrigerated to keep it fresh for the next serving time.
Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold:
If food is likely to remain in a serving situation for several hours, be certain to maintain temperature appropriate for each dish. That is, either use warming pans to keep hot foods hot or ice dishes to keep cold foods cold so that all food items can remain out of the food spoilage zone. It is best to often check food temperature.
Storing chicken and other food
First of all, it is most important that your food, whether uncooked or cooked, is stored properly. To ensure proper storage, keep your freezer at -18°C (0°F) and your refrigerator should be maintained between 2°-4°C (36°-40°F). Use a thermometer to ensure your freezer and refrigerator are at correct temperatures. Storing your food at proper temperature, before and after cooking, will help ensure freshness and avoid spoilage.
Please follow these HealthWise™ guidelines to get your food to the proper storage temperature as quickly as possible and keep it there:
If you purchase fresh product and do not plan using it within a day or two, freeze it right away. This is only advisable for short-term storage of 2-3 days. For longer storage, with guaranteed freshness, meat and food products must be Blast Frozen (quick-freezing). When freezing at home, please beware that domestic freezers are not designed to ‘quick-freeze’ fresh products, particularly fresh meat and meat products. They can neither reach very low temperatures nor accomplish freezing in a short time, which are both essential for first time ‘quick-freezing’ to ensure freshness. Domestic freezers are engineered to only maintain low storage temperature. Therefore, please be careful to avoid product spoilage.
Blast Freezing (defined as very low temperature ‘quick-freezing’ at -35°C), is a process designed to first time freeze products by rapidly attaining very low product temperature in minimal time for ensuring product freshness and food safety. Once blast frozen, chicken and meat products should be ideally stored at -18°C (0°F) to ensure freshness and avoid spoilage. Therefore, exercise care when storing such products at home. Blast frozen uncooked chicken may be thawed and refrozen, but there may be some loss of quality due to moisture loss through defrosting. To minimise quality loss, only defrost quantity required for cooking.
Your refrigerator's contents should be labelled and dated with storage date. Leftovers should be consumed within 3 days. After that, put them in the freezer for long-term storage.
Practice FIFO (First-In-First-Out) for all products. In other words, use older product first before you open a newer package of the same product.
Arrange contents of the freezer and refrigerator in an organised manner. It will help you keep track of what you have and keep temperatures even.
Leave space in-between products to allow sufficient airflow for ensuring correct temperature around them.
Divide large amounts of leftovers into smaller and preferably shallower containers, as deeper containers take longer to cool down. This will help your food to cool down more quickly and keep your space organised.
Avoid storing uncooked and cooked products together. Uncooked products should be stored on lowest shelf to avoid uncooked product dripping onto cooked food.
Uncooked meat can spoil easily; keep meat in coldest part of the refrigerator.
Cover food containers with tight lids to keep food and refrigerator environment fresh.
Warm soapy water should be used to clean-up spills.
An extremely important element of food storage is correct temperature around stored food. To help maintain proper temperature, please avoid leaving the refrigerator door open.
Picnics and cookouts
With a little planning, you can be confident about the wholesomeness of your food during picnics and cookouts.
Start at home when food is being packed:
Use an icebox with ice to maintain refrigerator like temperature of 2°-4°C (36° to 40°F) for keeping refrigerated foods cold and fresh. Refrigerated foods should be directly transferred from freezer or fridge to the icebox. Practise LIFO (Last-In-First-Out), that is, food you intend using first goes into the cooler last, so it will be on top. Pack uncooked chicken in a tightly-sealed bag or container and put it at the bottom of your icebox. Be sure to put enough ice in the cooler to last the length of your outing. Pack cold drinks into a separate container.
Ensure icebox stays cool:
On a hot day, take extra care to avoid excessive heat exposure to icebox. Avoid packing it into the hot trunk of a car. When you get to the picnic site, keep the icebox in the shade under a blanket, and open it as little as possible. Replace melted ice as needed.
Remember the rule of keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold:
Cold foods like chicken salad should not be out of the cooler for much longer than an hour. Take them out, use them, and put them back in the cooler. Cold foods will taste better chilled on a hot day in any case. If you have hot dishes that you want to serve over a long period, use a heat source to keep them at 62°C (145°F) or above.
On the grill, follow the same HealthWise™ Cooking rules you follow at home:
Uncooked meat should always be handled separately from the rest of your food. Do not use plates or utensils for cooked food that have come in contact with uncooked chicken without washing them first. Always wash your hands before and after handling uncooked chicken.
Cook your chicken until done:
When cooking out, close attention needs to be paid to grill fires, as they can be hotter and more unpredictable than kitchen stoves. Meat can appear done on the outside before it is properly cooked on the inside. Therefore, juices from chicken should run clear and a meat thermometer should be used to check temperature.
Simply eat it or chill it:
Either consume cooked chicken or put it back in the icebox in a sealed container. Do not leave it out for over an hour in the summer heat.
Having guests over at home
Getting together with your family and friends is a good time to share your trademark cooking. We assume you have followed all the HealthWise™ Cooking guidelines in preparing and cooking your dish at home. Following a few HealthWise™ cooking guidelines will ensure that your great tasting food stays wholesome for your visiting friends and family.
Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold:
Remember, to keep food wholesome, hot food should be kept at 60°C (145°F) or above, and cold food should remain at 4°C (40°F) or below if we want to keep food out of food spoilage zone 5°-60°C (40° to 140°F) for extended periods. If food is to be set up for an extended period to be out and available to guests for more than two hours, you should use serving dishes with a heat source for hot foods and ice for cold foods, like a chilled chicken salad. Check temperatures with a meat thermometer to be sure.
Cook amounts appropriate to gathering size and refrigerate leftovers quickly:
If you cook too much, there is more of a chance that food will be left over to sit at room temperature for over two hours in the food spoilage zone. After everyone has eaten, put leftovers in covered containers and put them in the refrigerator. If required, you can always warm it up again in the microwave later for late arrivals. However, be sure to label and date the containers and leftovers should be eaten 3-4 days after they are first put away.