Choosing and storing meat

Regardless of their grade, some meats are naturally more tender than others.

Cuts from the more active parts of the animal, such as the legs, the shoulders and the flanks will be less tender than cuts from the rib and loin sections which are areas where the muscles are used less.

Tender cuts make up a much smaller proportion of the animal than do the other cuts of meat. Hence they are more expensive because they are more in demand.

Always buy lean cuts of meat with less fat marbling within the meat. Before you cook the meat trim off any excess fat that is still remaining.

Remember that eating fatty meat is one of the quickest way to raise your cholesterol and set you on the road to clogged arteries and heart disease. Don't add fat when you are cooking meat and discard any fat which has accumulated during the cooking process.

When buying meat take it home quickly as it will deteriorate fast. Fresh meat should be stored in a cold place, preferably just below the freezer section in your fridge. Here the meat can be stored for three to four days. If you know you won't need the meat for a few days then it is far preferable to freeze it until it is needed. Some types of meat have a shorter storage time. Sausages, mince and offal are particularly perishable and should only be kept in the fridge for about 24 hours. Freeze them if you don't need them immediately.

Left over cold meat should be well wrapped in foil or plastic film before being returned to the fridge. Otherwise it will dry out. Eat within 3 - 4 days.


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