If your market carries free-range, organic, or free-range organic chicken, that should be your first choice. When you get your chicken home, remove it from its wrapping if it’s in plastic, and rewrap it, then put it in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Or, if you’re going to cook the chicken that day, unwrap it and let it air-chill, so the skin dries; it will help it brown. It’s best to use a chicken within a day or two of buying it. If you won’t be cooking it that soon, wrap the chicken well and freeze it for up to 1 month; defrost it, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator. Following the advice of experts who say that washing chicken merely splashes whatever bacteria might be on them all over and that cooking the bird destroys the bacteria, I don’t wash my chickens before I cook them (see page 201), but I do pat them dry with paper towels.

Dorie Greenspan