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There is no cuisine in the world that excludes the use of chicken, an all-purpose meat that lends itself to a wide range of dishes, with something to suit everyone. It would be a pity however to take it for granted: here are some curious facts and figures not to be missed.
1 year and an approximate weight of 1.5 Kg are the characteristics of an authentic chicken. If they are younger and weigh no more than 1 kg, we are talking about “spring chickens”. If they are aged around 6 months, then they are classified as cockerels.
There are 6 principal chicken breeds: Asian, British, Italian, Dutch, US and German. At the present time, there are actually 30 different breeds. Italy boasts the highest number of breeds - about twenty in all - the most famous of which are the Ancona, Padovana, Romagnola, Siciliana, Boffa, Ermellinata di Rovigo, Livorno and Valdarno.
4,5 billion chickens are bred in China, the world’s most important producer. It is followed by the United States (1.98) and Indonesia (1.92). Lagging way behind come all the other principal producers: Brazil (1.33), Iran (0.93), India (0.73), Mexico (0.53), Pakistan (0.45), Russia (0.45) and Japan (0.31).
24% is the average increase in poultry production forecasted from now until 2025. It is estimated that by then, chicken will account for about 50% of the planet’s meat consumption.
21% of world chicken exports come from the Netherlands. On its heels, we find Poland (13.3%), United States (12.6%), Belgium (12%), Germany (8%), China (3.5%), France (3.4%), Italy and Belarus (2.8%), and Hungary (2%).
300 eggs may be produced every year by one hen. We certainly need plenty of these “record breaking” hens to satisfy the demand of countries like the United Kingdom, where the daily consumption amounts to 34 million eggs.
114 kilocalories are contained in 100 grams of chicken meat. This is quite a modest intake, especially if we consider its other nutritional values. In 100 grams of chicken breast, in fact, we have 21 grams of proteins, 2.6 grams of fat, traces of carbohydrates, 116 milligrams of sodium, 210 milligrams of phosphorus and 370 milligrams of potassium.
10,43 milligrams of niacin are contained in 100 grams of chicken breast. This quantity represents as much as 57.9% of the recommended daily intake of this all important vitamin. We can also get a lot of vitamin B6 (37.5%) and B5 (23.8%) from chicken meat.
8 kilos is the registered weight of some specimens of Brahma chickens. Also known as “giant chicken”, videos of this breed abound on Youtube. It is an Asian chicken, weighing 4.5 kilos on average, which is bred almost exclusively for shows.
5 hours is the time needed to cook a large chicken on the indirect heat of a barbecue. For a perfect result, leave the chicken in a salt and water solution for an entire night. The next day, remove it from the liquid, pat dry and rub with baking soda to facilitate the mythical Maillard reaction.
300 millilitres of coconut milk are needed to make a delicious dish of Thai chicken. Mix the milk with three spoonfuls of curry powder. On one side, dice 600 grams of chicken breast and dust them with rice flour. Toss the chicken in a wok with some gently fried onion for 4 minutes before adding the aromatized coconut milk. Let everything cook for a further ten minutes before serving nice and hot.
1758 was the year when Linnaeus attributed the name of gallus domesticus to the chicken. To date, the origin of this domesticated fowl has still not been clarified, owing to its numerous and ancient crossbreeds.