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Apr 1, 2012 09:06 AM

Healthiest choices for chicken breasts and where to find it?

Okay, Im new here,but found this site while GooGling why the chicken breasts offered in ALL my local supermarkets are so darn big. I thought for a while big was good, cause, well you get more and more is better right? Then I noticed my chicken always came out dry and crumbly when I boiled it for chicken salad, etc., and examined why this change. I was buying boneless, skinless and suspected that had something to do with the poor results. So I went looking for ones with the skin on, etc, only to find the 2+ pounders being offered. This concerned me because I was wondering why their so big and immediately thought of hormones injected. Didnt realize that was now illegal, but other things injected are apparently not..
My question is, can I still buy chicken breast bone in skin on of ANY size that are without injections of any kind.? I mean do all of them have antibiotics in them? And does size indicate a less flavorful or unhealthy choice? And are any of the boneless/skinless as tasty or cook as well?
I was searching for small breast for a RRay recipe I saw last week and it was then that I discovered the non-existence of small breasts in my local marts. The smallest I was able to find was a 2 pk at brunos that was 1 1/4 lb each and not cheap.
Does anyone have any advice on whats best health wise and where to get it? If it's organic does that mean no injections? Can I even find organic chicken with skin on and bone in? All I have seen is boneless (celebrity brand of some sort) that said no injections...

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  1. Publix Greenwise chicken is antibiotic-free; Fresh Market sells chicken that is antibiotic-free as well. As for size, there is a recent thread discussing why chicken breasts are so huge:

    I have just accepted the monstrous size and always cut breasts down to the size I want, or buy small chickens and cut them up at home.

    1. I purchase Empire Kosher breasts which fall into the 3-to-a-pound (or less than a pound) category. I don't know which breeds they use but I haven't found them to be especially large. However, the price is pretty high.

      1. Antibiotics is not why they are big. They are big because factory farmed chickens are bred to get very fat, very quickly, in cages where they cannot roam outside. "Plump" is what Americans have decided they want, so these animals are fed a ton so they will get fat at a very early age and then be harvested very young. Sometimes their little legs can break because they are so heavy. It's not natural, and not the way chickens are supposed to be raised nor are they eating their natural diet. It has little to do with either hormones or antibiotics. The antibiotics are often necessary due to the nasty, overcrowded way factory farmed birds are raised.

        Try to find farmers markets, stores and farms where you can buy food out of the factory farmed system, and stop buying meat at the grocery.

        1 Reply
        1. I wouldn't buy any kind of chicken from a regular commercial supermarket if my life depended on it--and, in fact, our lives do depend on it. Easy solution is to buy a whole, organic, chemical-free chicken from Trader Joe's. Cut it up, use the bones for stock and give the cooked gizzards to your pets. They love them. Good for you on thinking this through. The difference in taste is also awesome. That crap they sell at the major retailers is but a distant shadow of what chicken really tastes like.

          12 Replies
          1. re: sandiasingh

            I don't have a trader Joes locally, Im afraid...all we have down here is your walmarts, Bruno's, WInn-Dixie, Food World, and a Fresh Market. We're getting a Publix next year...I don't touch ANY of walmart's meats...the hamburger is awful and the chicken is mostly skinless/boneless variety except for the mammouth family pack of breasts...The whole chickens are not organic....I will check out Fresh Market and see what they have and whether or not it will require a mortgage on my home to

            1. re: kimbercin

              Today Fresh Market has antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken breasts on sale for $2.99/lb.

              1. re: janniecooks

                FYI - all chicken is "hormone free."

                1. re: ferret

                  The USDA prohibits the use of hormones in poultry, the label “hormone-free,” while accurate, doesn’t set one chicken apart from another.

                  Bottom line - it's a gimmick for the gullible.

                  1. re: Clams047

                    It goes even further than that, the USDA prohibits the use of "Hormone-Free" in labeling poultry unless it is followed by a statement that says "Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones."

            2. re: sandiasingh

              I'm 300 miles one way from the nearest Trader Joe's.

              As for Fresh Market, they've been rotating their Tuesday specials monthly for about the past year. Looks like April 2012 in general will be Tuesdays are chicken breasts for $2.99 again. One thing I like about their boneless-skinless chicken breasts is that they're well-trimmed and you feel like you're paying for a very minimal amount of fat or connective tissue.

              1. re: beachmouse

                I wonder if they offer any with the skin/bones? I find it comes out better when left that way..And how is the flavor of the fresh Market chicken?

                1. re: kimbercin

                  I don't recall seeing any bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, and I agree with you they are better that way. I've come to prefer to Fresh Market chicken over what I can buy at Publix. It's not wrapped in plastic sitting in a foam tray on a soggy, bloody chicken diaper, and it has great flavor. At least the whole chickens do, which is all I've purchased, and when roasted they exude less liquid which I attribute to not being stored in the foam tray.

                  1. re: janniecooks

                    "...bloody chicken diaper"? Lol, I am going to have a hard time erasing that from my mind... Anyhow, I will check out my Fresh market and see what I can find...

                    1. re: janniecooks

                      We ONLY buy our chicken from Fresh Market now. Living in Naples, FL we thought we could get great produce and meat, but it's all crud. Fresh Market has become our go-to for produce and meat. The Tuesday special is amazing. The breasts are not terrible kind you get from Publix. They stay moist, tender and so good no matter how you cook it. I highly recommend shopping at Fresh Market and you cannot beat the $2.99 Tuesdays!

                      1. re: Kachinkie

                        Oh, yeah! I love the $2.99 Tuesdays, especially for the chicken and the ground beef. Our market is so busy they're grinding beef all day to keep up with the demand--truly fresh ground!

                        1. re: janniecooks

                          Agreed. The line at our butcher is crazy. Lol but it's worth it. Yes, the group chuck is very fresh.

              2. You can cut 1/2 breasts in half lengthwise to make cutlets. You can also take a single breast half and flatten it between two pieces of Saran wrap by pounding it with a meat mallet.

                Chickens are bred to be big breasted. No chickens in the U.S. are have hormones added to the feed, but apparently some antibiotics are used. If you want natural chickens, you'll have to buy organic. I don't know if organic chickens are also big breasted.