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Does a chicken's living environment affect its flavor?

Free-range chickens are more flavorful than mass-produced chickens sold in supermarkets. Unlike the latter, which are almost always reared in crowded coops, the free-range chickens get to move around a large yard. This exercise develops more flavor in their muscles. Exercise also toughens muscles, but the effect is less pronounced on chicken than a steer. As long as you buy a young free-range chicken, you should not notice an appreciable toughening effect on the meat.

The cramped and sunless living quarters of mass-reared chickens also make these "shut-ins" more disease- and stress-prone. Free-range chickens live more contented lives, which research shows, results in a better-quality meat and a higher flesh-to-bone ratio.

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09:01:20 on 01/04/08 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -