That Chicken Skin

That I see being tossed in the trash at the meat section of the local supermarkets…Such a waste, what an affront to the very nature of food.

I have met with much difficulty when trying to purchase chicken skin/fat. You would think that with the stores throwing them in the trash in their preparation of skinless cuts that I would have an easier time getting them. Problem is that they don’t stock them. I had been able to get them (organic even!) for free or next to nothing (< US$1/lb) but it really depends on whether I am lucky enough to go there while they are making the skinless cuts.

A half-pound of chicken skin makes enough rendered fat to make about 4-5 cups worth of tasty Hainanese Chicken Rice. The crispy pieces that remain, lightly salted, makes for an awesome snack. My kids simply love them.

As for the reason why I don’t get the prepackaged Kosher Schmaltz at the stores, the ones I found contain BHA to “maintain” freshness. I don’t like the sound of that in my food.

And that…is well worth the strange looks I get when asking for chicken skin at the stores. I can swear I could almost hear them think that I am crazy.

Chicken skin is good for you, in moderation of course.

A good deal of chicken fat comes with the skin. It was this “fat” that demonized the skin in our low-fat popular culture in the first place. Yet another problem of not distinguishing between the types of fatty acids and just lumping everything together in one category on the food label.

While fat content can vary depending on species and diet, the major components are oleic, palmitic, linoleic, stearic and palmitoleic. Oleic is known for being an antioxidant and palmitoleic is antimicrobial.

Thus chicken soup is good for you, but only when you keep that layer of oil on the top. I have a mild suspicion that the antimicrobial effects of palmitoleic may be the reason why chicken soup is said to be good for sick people. Commercial soups with the oil supposed removed for your health, is probably no longer as great as they claimed to be.

Again moderation is key. There is no point eating excessively under the pretense of health. There is just no need to avoid them in a typical meal. Those who discard this tasty bit of chicken simply does not know what they are missing out!

Oh, and regarding that KFC down the road? That belongs squarely in the “excessive” category. I limit all fast food fried chicken to a once-a-month treat for my family.





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