Curious how Zaycon Fresh works? And what you’d possibly do with 40 lbs of chicken? I’ll show you and give you my thoughts on it’s value.
What’s better than a drive-thru chicken truck?! Not much, I can tell you!
When Zaycon Fresh came on my radar a few years ago, I almost couldn’t wrap my head around it. Fresh chicken, boneless/skinless, for less than I was able to buy it at the grocery store. Not much cheaper, but close. And in bulk. And delivered in a farm sized box instead of a ton of little packages to lug.
The problem for me was running out of food storage cash when the sale would come around, or having zero freezer space to put the chicken into. And since I still am not a canner (hanging head in shame), I couldn’t can the stuff. So I kept putting it off.
Then one day, the sale came, I had cash on hand, and I hit submit….and I was hooked!
How does Zaycon Fresh Work?
When you place an order on Zaycon fresh, you place an order for the particular meat you want, and a delivery location in your area. The date may be a month or two in advance.
They deliver from the farm to a truck in the location that you’ve chosen.
When delivery day approaches, you’ll receive an email to remind you. When you arrive at the site to pick up, just pull up alongside the truck. Don’t get out of your car, just open the trunk or let them know which seat to load into.
The folks at Zaycon will lay down a plastic sheeting in your trunk or on your seat and load the box(es) into your car for you. They have been in a refrigerated truck, and should be fine on your drive home. However, if you feel the need, put in ice packs (if you are using reusable ice packs, be sure to put them into zip top bags before putting inside the chicken boxes to protect from cross-contamination).
Once home, this is probably what you’ll see:
Inside is factory packed bulk chicken. They are not in individual pack as you’re used to getting from a grocery store. In our experience, with both the chicken breasts and chicken thighs, there are five large packages full of pieces.
So….what do I do with all that chicken?
*I’m going to preface the rest of this post with an apology up front. When you’ve planned a post for a month, and get ready to do it, and life throws you a HUGE curveball when you’re about to start, and you just can’t do the post justice — that would be my day. My Zaycon order came in, I had high hopes to show you lots of recipes being made, and all the work, but life threw us a big one, and I had 2 hrs to get 40 pounds of chicken processed and in the freezer. So this post isn’t all I wanted it to be with loads of photos, etc. But I’ll link you up to the recipes for the marinades I used with an admission that I ended up using some bottled marinades, too, because I had zero time to get this done.
My intent was to learn to can chicken with our chicken breast order – but as said above, I wasn’t able to do it. I was bummed because I was excited at all the canned chicken I’d have in the pantry. But if I had canned, this is the resource I was using to do it properly:
How to can chicken by Simply Canning
How to pressure can chicken by Food Storage Made Easy
And here is a video from Linda’s Pantry to see it in action.
You can take your chicken and pre-cook it all to freeze or can, and have chicken ready for any meal. If you love terriyaki chicken, cook up a mess of it and have it ready. Throwing some in a slow cooker and adding your own BBQ sauce lets you have pulled chicken sandwich meat ready for any weekend lunch in a snap!
This turned out to be how I did both of my chicken orders this round. As mentioned earlier, life got in the way of my doing more, so I had limited time to get it all preserved, and decided to go this route. I froze about 20# of the 80# of chicken as just raw chicken – ready to be used however I need to at some point. The other 60# were done as dump chicken recipes. I will list the sites here that I used to grab recipes from, but I did also take advantage of some sales at the grocery store to buy bottled marinade to save me time. It was providence that they were on sale the day of my delivery, and I went in beforehand to grab them.
- 5 Chicken Dump Recipes via The Chaos and the Clutter
- Even More Chicken Dump Recipes via The Chaos and the Clutter
- Chicken Dump Recipes via A Peek into My Paradise
- Chicken Dump Recipes via A Cultivated Nest
- Freezer Chicken Meals via Over the Big Moon
Chicken jerky is a possibility if you like dry preserving your meats. They aren’t meant for long-term storage the way canning is, but it’s an option. Making chicken jerky for dogs is a great way to treat them, too!
How I processed my Zaycon Fresh Chicken
1.Get all of your tools gathered first.
You’re going to be elbow deep in raw chicken for awhile. Make sure you have all the tools you need, in a handy place, so that you don’t have to find them along the way.
Here is a list of supplies that I used, and you’d need to add canning supplies to that as well.
- Cutting board – While I love my bamboo cutting boards, I use this large plastic cutting board specifically for meat.
- Bowl of water to rinse chicken in, safe bowl to store rinsed chicken in – I ended up with a stock pot to store the rinsed chicken
- Zip top bags or vacuum sealer bags
- Knife – I used a large chef’s knife and a smaller paring knife
- Baggy Opener – this isn’t necessary, but came in handy
- Latex gloves (or the equivalent if you are allergic)
- Permanent marker – MARK THOSE PACKAGES!
- Extra set of hands. Really, if you have some extra hands, it’s so helpful to grab things for you so that you aren’t contaminating your whole kitchen or going through a whole box of gloves.
2. Rinse Chicken and trim.
The chicken is packed in its own juices, but I felt better about rinsing off before just to get it all off, and trimmed excess fat. There wasn’t much to trim, though.
3. Portion out chicken
This is the size of a double breast of Zaycon Fresh Chicken. It’s already deboned and skinned. I did both chicken strips/tenders and chicken bites for the breasts. I did not cut the chicken thighs down, but left them whole.
4. Bag up chicken
Bagging the chicken. I loved these Jokari Bag Clips, especially when I didn’t have extra hands with me. They certainly aren’t necessary, but they were helpful. I didn’t have a jar big enough to use, and was able to do a quick load and go with them.
Just be careful, because if you’re not paying attention and loading them incorrectly..they do tip over. Easy enough to fix, but they aren’t completely stable.
By the time I was done, there were about 4X what you see in this photo…all bagged up and ready for the freezer. It took me about 2 hours, in total.
I did not use my Food Saver Vacuum sealer this time around because I literally did not have time. It was a bit quicker for me to just use zip top bags and go. If our day had turned out better, I would’ve used the vacuum sealer to give us a longer life in the freezer. I did use the thick mil freezer bags, though.
Drawbacks of Zaycon Fresh
- You place and order and may not be able to pick it up for weeks, depending on when you ordered and the next time shipments come to your area.
- You must be ready to process all the meat at once.
Benefits of Zaycon Fresh
- Good chicken at incredible prices (and other meats are also put on sale often for great prices, especially if you live in an area where food costs are high).
- Bulk purchasing and processing to save you time and money.
- Not driving all over the city trying to track down loss leader chicken sales to stock your freezer and pantry
- Bulk buy with friends and work together at creating chicken meals for all of your families together.
Please let me know if you have any questions about how this works. While I won’t use Zaycon Fresh for every chicken purchase I make, I love using it to stock our pantry/freezer for long term. I will still buy whole chickens, and may take advantage of a chicken sale for fresh chicken if I want to do something different. I will also say that I’ve never used Zaycon for other meats, only ever chicken. It is a great resource, regardless.