Monday, July 11, 2011

Navagating the Grocer's Meat Case Tips!

Do you feel over whelmed with the choices today? I know I do. As Today's meat case is full of exciting choices. Did you know that there are more than 100 different meat cuts in the crocer's meat case at any given time? I know I didn't that is very overwhelming! On top of that more than 1,000 names for those cuts across the United States. Consumers tend to purchase the same items over and over, especially when it comes to the meat case. Familiarity is likely the root behind most meat purchasing decisions, but buying cuts because they are on sale is also a popular shopping habit. I know I do both! How are you suppose to select the best cuts of meat and what do you do when you get home and you're not sure how to prepare it?
Here are a few Smart Tips for Shopping the Meat Case

It's a good idea to make the refrigerated meat case your last stop to ensure meat stays cold as long as possible until you get home. Be sure to choose packages that are cold, tightly and completely wrapped with no tears or punctures. Packages should not contain excessive liquid as this can be an indication of problems with temperature or storage. For vacuum-packaged meat, make sure the seal has not been broken and that the package is not leaking.

You can also get one of those nifty cold or hot bags that keep your food cold or hot for up to 3 hours. I also put all my meat in those produce bags just to make sure it don't get on my other food or my hands in case it accidently leaks in my bag.
Shopping for Pork
Modern-day production has reduced pork's fat content. Despite popular belief, pork is a major contender in the lean meat category and many cuts of pork are as lean or leaner than chicken.

For the leanest cuts of pork, look for the word "loin" on the label.

When you don't have much time for cooking, select a smaller cut, like pork chops that cook quickly.

If you'e entertaining, choose a roast that can be put in the oven and requires very little attention while cooking. Flavored and pre-marinated pork products take the mess out of the kitchen and are a convenient way to deliver a delicious meal.

Shopping for Beef

Calorie-for-calorie, beef is one of the most nutrient-rich foods to fuel an active and healthy lifestyle. A 3-ounce serving of lean beef contributes less than 10 percent of calories to a 2,000 calorie diet.

Choose beef with a bright cherry-red color, without any gray or brown blotches. A dark purple-red color is typical for vacuum-packaged beef. Once exposed to oxygen, beef will turn from a dark red to bright red.
Choose steaks and roasts that are firm to the touch, not soft.
 Always check the "sell by" date on the package label. If you can't read it or it's not there, don't purchase the package.

 Meat Cooking Tips

  •  For better browning, pat dry beef steaks, pork chops, cubes, and roasts with a paper towel.
  •  When roasting or broiling, place beef or pork on the rack in the broiler or roasting pan to allow fat to drip off during cooking.
  •  Salt beef or pork after cooking or browning. Salt draws out moisture and inhibits browning.
  •  Turn steaks, roasts, or chops with tongs. Do not use a fork. This pierces the meat and allows juices to escape.
  • Turn ground beef and pork with a spatula. Do not flatten patties when cooking. This allows juices to escape.
  •  Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, not resting in fat or touching bone.
  •  The secret to moist meatloaf and meatballs is to mix lightly. Over-mixing will result in a firm, compact texture.
  •  Roasts become firmer and easier to carve when they are allowed to stand 15 to 20 minutes before carving.

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