Some people don’t give a lot of attention on handling meat—after all, what’s important is that it looks and tastes good when cooked. But what people fail to realize is that properly handling such perishables make a big difference in the taste, done-ness, and most of all, food safety.
Things like these are taught during food safety training, wherein food handling fundamentals are detailed by an instructor. Visit learn2serve.com for more info on how to enroll in a food handling or food safety class, to boost your working knowledge of how to cook and serve food for personal or business purposes.
Here are some tips on how to properly handle the meat you bought from farm to table, based on the recommendations of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service:
Raw beef should be best kept cold from the moment you take it off the shelves at the supermarket up to the time you move it to your fridge. Better take a cooler with you when you’re going to buy raw meat from the supermarket. If this is not an option, make sure to take raw beef home immediately and put it in your refrigerator, set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Consume within three to five days after purchase. If kept in the freezer though, raw beef will be safe for an indefinite period of time. To enjoy the best quality of steak cuts, consume the variety within nine to a year.
Pick up ground beef on your last stop before you hit the counter at the grocery store. Ground beef should be securely stored in a separate plastic bag so that its juices won’t drip on other foods. Make sure to drive home right after buying ground meat from the supermarket. Otherwise, place the ground beef package in an ice-filled cooler to keep it cold and fresh until you transfer it to your fridge. This slows down the growth of bacteria and other pathogens.
Set the temperature of the fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit when refrigerating the ground beef. Make sure to use the meat in one to two days. If this isn’t possible, wrap the ground beef in thick plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the freezer. Ground beef is best used in four months.
Raw pork should be picked up last before checking out your groceries at the counter. As with beef, make sure that raw pork is secured better by placing it in a disposable plastic bag to prevent its juices from dripping onto other food and perishables. Take the pork home as soon as possible and make sure to keep it in the fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook it in three to five days as well.
Ready-made pork and beef should be consumed within two hours following take out. You can also refrigerate it at 40 degrees Fahrenheit for three to four days. Make sure to reheat the dishes at 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Ready-prepared pork and meat dishes can be kept safe in the freezer but make sure to consume it within three months to enjoy its best quality.
As for thawing, never thaw pork and beef in room temperature or at the counter top. Thaw pork and beef in the fridge, in cold water, or in the microwave.
Cess Padilla is a SEO for Learn2Serve.com, a website for Food Safety Certification. When not working, playing or watching TV series, she’s usually out shopping on malls, eating in restaurants, chillin’ on a friends house or exploring new places. You can follow her adventures on her twitter account @360cesspadilla
photo credit wikipedia.org