Given that Malaysia will be banning chicken exports come 1 June, thus cutting off at least 34% of Singapore’s chicken imports, it means that the country will have to find other suppliers and from further places.
With regards to the chickens that come from Johor, they are usually brought to Singapore alive via trucks before they are slaughtered and chilled.
That is where a considerable bulk of our fresh chicken comes from.
On the other hand, chicken coming from Brazil (48%), United States (8%) and other countries (10%) are probably frozen chicken, mainly because frozen foodstuffs have a longer storage life and are easier to import than live, clucking chickens.
In view of these facts, Goody Feed thought it would be pertinent to shed some light on whether there are any differences between fresh chicken and frozen chicken.
The Nutritional Value
First off, is frozen chicken less nutritious than fresh chicken?
Is this a myth or fact?
The answer to that is simple yet somewhat complicated, so let’s separate frozen chicken into two categories first: home-frozen chicken and poultry supplier flash-frozen chicken.
In the past, there was a perception that frozen chicken is less nutritious because home-frozen chicken, wherein chicken is just placed in a freezer over time to freeze, has a distinct flaw.
Home freezers are meant to keep food cold, not for the actual freezing.
In doing so, ice crystals start forming between the fibres of the meat, thus forcing the nutritious juices out.
However, if it is done by poultry suppliers, who have access to flash freezing technology, which freezes the produce at extremely low temperatures swiftly, ice crystals have no time to form at all.
Therefore, flash-frozen chicken and fresh chicken have no difference in nutritional value.
If it’s home-frozen chicken, then it’s definitely less nutritious than getting fresh chicken straight from the butcher’s.
Misconception: Frozen Meat versus Processed Meat
Another misconception that people might have about frozen meat is that it is considered processed meat.
That is untrue. It’s a myth.
Frozen meat does not require any preservatives because its low-temperature environment prevents the growth of microorganisms that contribute to decay.
On the other hand, processed meats are loaded with sodium and other preservatives to stave off any degradation or decay.
That’s the key difference between the two types of meat; they are not prepared the same way.
However, it is still important to check the labelling, as some commercially frozen chickens are injected with high saline content.
Always remember to check your sources when purchasing your meat!
Naturally, fresh and chilled chicken takes significantly less time to prepare than frozen chicken, since the latter requires some time to thaw.
Of course, that’s if you’re not dealing with a whole chicken from scratch, and need to deal with all the tendons and bones.
Frozen chicken tends to be packaged in different parts like the thighs, giblets, or in strips, which removes the hassle of having to debone the meat.
It is advised to put your frozen chicken in the chiller section of your fridge for an hour to let the frozen chicken gradually defrost, as opposed to exposing it to open temperatures, even if the process is faster.
Therefore, if you’re handling frozen chicken, make sure to factor the time component in when you’re prepping for a meal!
Even then, shifting your ingredients from one section to another will take you less than 30 seconds, tops.
Besides that, there is no difference between fresh and frozen chicken when it comes to baking, frying, roasting, or whatever manner you wish to cook your chicken!
It’s the same ingredient, after all.
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On Price Points
Frozen chicken is actually cheaper than fresh chicken.
The reasons have already been listed: it is easier to transport and handle, you can ship out more pre-packaged flash-frozen chicken in a single container than cages of live chickens.
Moreover, the live chickens have to go through the process of being slaughtered, plucked, cut, and packaged upon arrival, before they are transported to their respective locations.
Hence, if you’re running on a tight budget, it would be more worthwhile to buy a packet of frozen chicken than opting for fresh chicken.
About Shelf Lives
For chilled chickens, they have a shorter shelf life of about one to two days in the fridge.
Typically, you’re buying fresh chicken with the intent of making use of the ingredient immediately anyway, so having a short-term shelf life doesn’t really matter.
If the chicken is already cooked, it can last in the refrigerator for three to four days.
On the other hand, flash-frozen chicken, if constantly kept in optimally low temperatures, can last up to three to four months, and even up to a year.
(Yes, it can be kept for that long.)
Actually, it’s safe to eat frozen foods even if it’s past it’s recommended expiry date, but the longer the product is stored, the more flavour loses, especially if you don’t seal the product carefully.
This is also the main reason why people argue that frozen chicken tastes less flavourful than fresh chicken.
However, if you don’t store it for too long or you cook the frozen chicken right after buying it, the difference isn’t that noticeable.
And the good part about frozen chicken is that its longer storage life ensures that you can always have meat on hand for a meal, rather than having to run down to the grocer’s just to grab some poultry.
Hopefully, this information will be helpful for you on your next grocery run!
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