Chicken is one of the most versatile types of protein and with its mild flavor and aroma can be paired with so many other tastes.
It’s great as a simple roast but also works in curries, pasta dishes, and can even be ground for chicken burger patties. Kids love chicken nuggets and we’re betting that at some point you’ve tasted chicken a la king.
However, we have all heard about the dangers of eating spoiled chicken and you may be wondering what fresh raw chicken is supposed to smell like. We’re here to keep you safe and look into this question.
What Should Raw Chicken Smell Like?
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, fresh, raw chicken should have a very faint, mild odor. If you can hardly smell the chicken and it is a fresh, pinkish color, your poultry is most probably safe to eat.
Your senses are there for a reason, so we suggest checking the raw chicken with your eyes, nose, and fingers before cooking and eating it.
Raw chicken flesh should have a pale pink or peachy color. It should be moist and glossy in appearance. There should not be a greenish or greyish tinge to it.
While raw chicken will never be completely odor-free, if it smells bad it probably is bad. It should also not have a sour or “vinegary” smell. Spoiled chicken often has a sour, rancid or rotten egg smell.
Fresh raw chicken is slightly moist and slippery but never slimy. If it is sticky, this is a sign of bacterial contamination. When purchasing fresh chicken, make sure that the packaging feels cold to the touch.
Never buy a package of chicken that is room temperature or warm as chicken must be kept chilled to be fresh.
Storing Raw Chicken
So, you’ve bought the perfect raw chicken with a mild odor and pinkish color. You need to store it correctly to ensure that the chicken does not lose this freshness.
Start with packing it into a cooler with ice blocks inside as soon as you leave the grocery store. Get it home and into your refrigerator as soon as possible.
The best way of storing fresh, raw chicken is by keeping it on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator towards the back as this is the coldest place. Make sure that it is well wrapped to prevent any juices from leaking onto other foods.
It is suggested that you use plastic Ziploc or freezer bags for storing the chicken. Do not store it this way for longer than one or two days. If you do not intend to use it before then, freeze it.
According to the USDA, an uncooked whole chicken can be frozen for up to a year, and pieces for up to nine months. Ground chicken and giblets should be used within four months.
To Sum Up
The main sign of bad chicken is a foul odor. A fresh, raw, unspoiled chicken will have a mild smell or none at all. If your poultry has a strong smell such as sour or sulfurous like bad eggs, do not take a chance – throw it away.
However, many people do not have a good sense of smell so remember also to look at the chicken and feel it as well. Stay safe!