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More Than Just Sustenance

written by

Susan Blasko

posted on

February 20, 2024

As you may know from reading the description of Polyface stewing hens, these girls are a storehouse of nutrients for us humans. Much of that nutrition is present in the bird’s fat. 

After two or three years on the pasture eating grass, worms, insects, and small rodents, she has accumulated a wealth of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, K), as well as omega-3, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and other healthful fatty acids. That’s what makes the fat so deep yellow compared to the pale yellow fat on the Polyface broilers (meat birds). 

In contrast to the stewing hens’ longer life on the pasture, the broiler chickens spend only an average of 8 weeks on pasture before they are processed. That’s not enough time to store away the amount of nutrients that make the fat darker yellow. The deeper the color, the more the nutrients and the richer the flavor.

The same concept of fat color applies also to the color of the meat. The dark meat (leg and thigh) has a higher level of nutrition and tastier flavor than the light meat (breast), because there is more fat present in the leg than in the breast. 

In certain cultures, people eat chicken leg meat and throw away the breast. This is surprising to many in our culture, who have become convinced that breast meat is more healthful since it is lower in fat than leg meat. 

We are slowly re-learning that animal fat is where the nutrition and the flavor reside.

If you prepare a stewing hen by roasting or baking, you will be disappointed in the results. The meat has an unpleasant texture — tough and stringy. Leave the baking and roasting for the broiler chickens. They’re perfect for that cooking method.

For the most enjoyable culinary experience with a stewing hen, make a nice golden stock, then strain it and discard the meat. This is not wasteful because after simmering for 12 to 24 hours, the nutrients from the fat, meat, and bones are in the liquid.

With the broilers, you enjoy juicy, tender meat. With the stewing hens, you glean superior flavor and nutritional value. For best results, make stock with a stewing hen and discard the meat, then roast a broiler and add the meat from the broiler to the stock. Don’t forget the onion, carrot, and celery for additional color and aroma. 

This is the perfect sustenance to support your immune system. 

May you be deeply nourished,



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