Natural black chicken! Did you know there is such a thing as a black chicken? And I don’t mean dark feathers, but black skin, bones, and even internal organs. There are several breeds of black hens globally, especially in Asia, but the most popular of all has to be the Chinese Silkie.
Silkies are beautiful birds covered in fluffy plumage that is said to feel like silk, but underneath all that fluff, they are much less attractive. Their skin is a dark bluish color, their flesh is dark beige, and their bones and some of their internal organs are black as tar.
Although Silkie chickens are sold primarily for decorative purposes in the Western world, they are considered a superfood and prized for their deep, juicy flavor in countries such as China.
Called “wu gu ji” or “black bone chicken,” Black chicken has been prized for its medicinal value since the seventh or eighth century.
Chinese women consume it after childbirth for an energy boost, but it is also said to positively affect the yin, blood, lungs, and stomach. Silkie meat is rarely fried. To take full advantage of its medicinal properties, the Chinese mainly use it to make amber-colored broth with the addition of ginseng, dried wolfberries, and marmalade.
In a genetic study published in 2011, a unique trait in silkworm chickens known as fibromelanosis is caused by an unusual genetic mutation characterized as “a complex rearrangement that results in increased expression of endothelin 3, a gene known to promote pigment cell growth.”
The massive increase in pigment cells makes the skin and bones black and causes internal organs to darken.
Another interesting feature of black chicken is its high content of carnosine, a natural peptide that is sold as a dietary supplement. People take it to increase muscle mass, prevent the effects of aging and alleviate diseases such as diabetes or autism.
Studies have shown that black chicken is one of the richest sources of carnosine.
If you’re wondering what black chicken meat tastes like, most people say it’s no different than traditional chicken, but some say it’s a little sweeter. So, would you take the dark side and indulge in the dark flesh of Silkie?