4 Incredible Poultry Meat and their Shelf Life

Besides beef, poultry is one of the most popular and tastiest meats. Which is your favourite poultry meat? Here are 4 incredible poultry meat and their shelf life to get you started.

Chicken

Chickens are some of the most common domesticated animals on earth. It would be perplexing to find somewhere they have not yet graced.

Besides domestication, commercialized breeding of chicken is a lucrative endeavor across the world. Chickens are normally bred for their meat, eggs as well as feathers.

When it comes to meat, there are chickens raised sorely for that purpose – broilers and fryers. Other than that, free-range chickens are also valuable sources of meat.

Nutritional value of chicken

In its entirety, chicken is a rich source of protein. However, some parts are synonymous with having distinctive nutrients.

For instance, the skin has saturated fats, offal such as liver and gizzard are rich in iron.

Additionally, chicken breast is a low-fat and low-caloric cut. Besides this, chicken is a good source of vitamin B6. It also contains a substantial amount of calories.

Shelf life of chicken

Chicken is not only perishable, it is a notorious source of food-borne illnesses. As such, proper handling and storage is inevitable. The shelf life of chicken varies, depending on the state of meat.

How long does raw chicken last? (In the fridge)

To prevent chances of food contamination, avoid storing raw chicken in the refrigerator. If need be, wrap in heavy-duty bags. Use within 2 days.

Shelf life of raw chicken (in the freezer)

Low temperatures of a freezer mitigate bacterial multiplication. Therefore, you can safely freeze raw chicken. Use freezer-friendly, sealable bags. Well frozen raw chicken lasts for 1 year in good quality.

How long does cooked chicken last? (In the fridge or freezer)

Cooking prolongs the shelf life of chicken, though not for long. Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers.

In the fridge, the chicken will last up to 4 days. On the other hand, frozen cooked chicken keeps well for 4 months.

Turkey

Turkeys are indigenous to the Americas. They existed wildly before the Native Americans, Mayans and Aztecs began domesticating them.

Through trade, they were introduced to other regions of the world. All domesticated turkeys stem from the wild Meleagris gallopavo breed. Out of the 4 incredible poultry meat and their shelf life, turkey is the largest.

Nowadays, turkey meat is symbolic of various celebratory occasions such as Thanksgiving in America. They are popular for large gatherings due to their large size, compared to other poultry.

Nutritional value of turkey

Turkey is a high protein source. In addition, it contains essential nutrients such as: Selenium, vitamin Bs, zinc, potassium as well as phosphorous. Meat with skin on provides more calories.

How long does raw turkey last? (In the fridge)

All raw meat varieties are highly perishable. Even when refrigerated, raw turkey, whether whole or ground, lasts for 2 days in good quality.

Shelf life of frozen raw turkey

For a longer shelf life, freeze your raw turkey. Use heavy-duty freezer bags for optimal results. Well frozen turkey lasts for 8-12 months.

How long does cooked turkey last? (In the fridge or freezer)

Since cooking kills bacterial activities, your meat can stay a few days longer, up to 1 week in the refrigerator. On the other hand, you can freeze cooked leftovers for later use. Use within 8 months.

Shelf life of deli turkey (In the fridge or freezer)

Turkey meat is popularly processed into cold cuts and bites known as deli meat. Such packages come with a ‘sell by’ date.

Always refrigerate opened packages. Use within 6 days after opening. Alternatively, freeze and use within 1 month.

Duck

Domestication of duck dates back thousands of years ago in Asia, most notably China. Up to date, duck meat is still popular in China, where the Peking duck meat serves a number of culinary uses.

However, duck domestication is widespread all over. Apart from Peking, other commonly domesticated ducks are the Mallard, one of the earliest breeds as well as Muscovy.

Duck meat is synonymous with its dark red hue, akin to steak. It also has a strong, deep flavor.

Nutritional value of duck meat

It is lauded for being leaner than both skinless turkey and chicken. Moreover, duck meat is rich in iron, due to its dark red color.

In addition, it contains vitamins and minerals such as zinc, selenium, vitamin B6, niacin (B3), cobalamin, potassium as well as sodium. Not to mention, it is a high protein source.

Nonetheless, duck also contains saturated fats. Duck fat is usually rendered and used for cooking and baking.

Shelf life of frozen raw duck

Well frozen duck remains in good quality for up to 1 year. Freeze in small batches since refreezing is a no-no for meat.

How long does cooked duck last? (In the fridge)

Refrigerate or freeze any cooked leftovers. When refrigerated, consume within 3 days. On the other hand, frozen cooked duck is good for up to 6 months.

Quails

These tiny birds are part of the pheasant family. Although it is considered a game bird, quail domestication thrives in many cultures. They are not only prized for their meat, their eggs are also a novelty delicacy.

Nutritional value of quail

Another rich protein source, quail also contains essential vitamins and minerals. These include: Vitamin B6, B12, niacin, copper, iron, phosphorous, selenium and zinc.

Quail meat is low-fat. As such, cooking quail is a delicate affair, as the meat is prone to drying.

How long does fresh, raw quail last? (In the freezer)

Well frozen raw quail keeps well for up to 6 months. When freezing, wrap thoroughly in heavy-duty wraps to prevent excessive drying.

Shelf life of cooked quail (in the fridge or freezer)

Refrigerate cooked quail leftovers as soon as they have cooled. In the fridge, the meat keeps well for 4 days at most.

If you have too much meat, freeze them for longer shelf life. Well frozen cooked quail lasts up to 3 months.

How to preserve poultry meat for a longer shelf life

Smoking

This ancient food preservation works by exposing meat to smoke. The smoke tenderizes the meat by breaking down protein tissues.

In addition, it imparts flavor, depending on the type of wood or ash used. Smoking also draws out excess moisture from the meat, hence prolongs its shelf life.

How long does smoked poultry meat last?

Smoked meat lasts long, as long as you store in a dry, cool area. You can also refrigerate or freeze unused ones. In the fridge, it has a shelf life of up to 2 weeks, when opened. On the other hand, frozen smoked poultry keeps well for 1 month or more.

Salt-curing

Brining is another great method for prolonging the shelf life. There are several curing techniques you can use:

Two of them are – rubbing salt on the surface or immersing the meat in brine solution. Either way, salt-curing is effective in mitigating bacterial growth, whilst preserving the flavor and shelf life.

How long does salt-cured poultry last?

It can last from 1 month or more, depending on how you store it.

Spoiled poultry meat

Besides being familiar with the 4 incredible poultry meat and their shelf life, knowing their spoilage is vital. Poultry is highly perishable. As such, when checking for spoilage, be on the lookout for:

  • Pungent smell
  • Mold growth on fresh, cooked or preserved meat
  • Discoloration, especially on fresh, raw meat
  • Sticky, slimy texture

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