If you're not cooking with air chilled chicken, then you won’t be able to taste, real flavoursome chicken. The way in which chickens are processed makes a huge difference to the taste and texture of the meat. All Nichols chickens are air chilled, which means they retain all of their natural flavour, juices and texture.
So what is Air Chilling? In chicken processing, the birds must be chilled quickly after feather removal. The industry standard does this by immersing the chicken in icy cold water bath. The water is chlorinated to prevent bacterial contamination. Some of the chlorinated water is absorbed into the chicken which compromises the flavour and texture of the chicken. Air chilling, however, is a process by which chickens are cooled by cold air as they pass through a blast chiller.
There are a number of benefits to air chilled chicken but most of all it is tastier and more tender. This is because water chilled chicken absorbs water during processing and when the chicken is cooking the water either evaporates out making the meat contract, dry out and loose flavour or leaves it soggy and stringing. By contrast air chilled chicken produces more tender meat with natural flavour and texture. Because it has soaked up additional water you can also get nice and cispy skin from air chilled chicken. The aborbed water also increases the size and weight of the chicken, by over 10% in many cases, which adds to the cost of the chicken. This means that not only is air chilled chicken better quality, it is also better value.
Nichols Ethical Free Range
Nichols Ethical Free Range Chicken was developed to grow chickens in a way that allows the birds to range freely and encourages natural behaviours. Nichols Ethical Free Range chickens are grown in small transportable sheds that ensure the birds have access to fresh pasture.
In Tasmania we are fortunate as there are few native predators to chickens so we can allow the chickens ample access to range with the shed open 24 hours per day. This ensures the chickens are able to range at the times of day that suits them which is generally around dusk and dawn. Most commercial free range standards only require 8 hours per day on the range.
The Nichols Ethical Free Range Chicken flocks are smaller leading lower stocking density and more room for the chickens to move around.
It takes a liitle bit more time and a effort to grow Nichols Ethcal Free Range Chicken howeeve this ensures it is a truly free range pasture raised chicken that has an improved flavour and texture.
We are committed to environmental sustainability and have a number of initiatives to help reduce our environmental footprint.
- We generate approximately 50% of the power needs from an onsite wind turbine.
- We compost the litter from our growing sheds and this is used as fertiliser over our farm.
- Our waste water is treated and used to irrigate pasture.
- All trays used for packaging are recyclable.
- We are working to eliminate plastic waste to landfill from production waste.