POULTRY is generally an acceptable food, and is readily digested. To an invalid, and persons of delicate organization, a bit of nicely-cooked chicken is often an agreeable change. The methods of preparing, cooking, and serving poultry should receive careful consideration.
To judge something of the age of a fowl, examine the pin feathers, the texture of the skin, and the size of the spurs on and the legs.
If a fowl is stall-fed, the layers of fat are a sickly white color, and have none of the wholesome appearance of the free, home-fed, farm poultry.
The skin of a young fowl is easily torn.
If poultry does not smell sweet inside, discard it.
If fowls are half starved during the summer, no amount of extra feeding will bring them up to as high a standard for the table, as those well fed from the day of their leaving the shell.
During the last three or four weeks before killing, give them boiled potatoes, beets, or carrots, thickened with corn-meal for their morning and noon meal, and corn alone at night, and a constant supply of milk placed where they can get it.
Do not keep them in pens or in the dark. It will certainly detract from their market value.
Fowls should not be fed for 24 hours before killing. Food in the crop is liable to sour.
Turkeys cared for in this way should weigh on an average 16 pounds each, when between 6 and 7 months old.
A dealer in poultry in the city says that bleeding in the mouth is the best mode of killing. Leave the heads and feet on, dip the fowl in nearly boiling water, three times, holding it by the legs. Then remove the feathers quickly, and without tearing the skin; then dip for an instant into boiling water, and then into cold water. Wipe dry inside and out.
Poultry would reach our markets in much better condition if, as soon as dressed and wiped dry, a piece of charcoal were placed in each one.
To singe a fowl, pour a few drops of alcohol on a plate and touch it with a lighted match. Handier than burning a paper.
To draw a chicken for stuffing, cut a slit under one of the legs, so it may be hidden by sewing up. Take the crop out from a cut in the back of the neck.
To truss a fowl, tie the wings and thighs securely to the body to keep it in shape for boiling or roasting.
To truss a four-footed animal, tie the legs down securely.
The giblets of poultry are the head, neck, wings, feet, gizzard, heart, and liver.
To catch a fowl for cooking, have a coop made of lath, with an opening at one end. Throw a handful of corn inside and outside of it, and when the chicken is a prisoner, close up the coop and take it out. This is infinitely better than the cruel practice of chasing or shooting them.