When I sat in on a special presentation on beef presented by the Beef Checkoff and The Motherhood last week, I didn't really expect to learn anything new. After all, I've been cooking with beef since I was a preteen, so I assumed I knew it all. Well, you know what they say about people who assume things...
So yeah, I did end up learning a thing... or maybe more, and I wanted to share it with all of you! You know, just on the off chance that you might be operating under the same assumption -- at least I hope it's not just me.
Frequently Asked Questions About Beef
A serving of lean beef has nearly half of the daily value for protein, contains less than 10 grams of fat, and less than 95 mg of cholesterol, making it a healthy and nutritious choice. Here's all you need to know about incorporating it into your meals!
What do I look for when purchasing beef?
Select beef that has a bright, cherry-red coloring. Beef that's in a sealed bag will typically have a darker, wine shade to it, but it will turn red when exposed to the air. The beef should be firm to the touch, and the packaging should be tight, without any tears or punctures, and contain little liquid. Be sure to check the sell by date before purchasing.
Speaking of the sell by date, what is the difference between sell by and use by dates?
The sell by date is the last day that you should purchase a package of beef on. A good general rule of thumb is to use your beef with 2 days of the sell by date. For steaks and roasts you want to use within 3-4 days from the sell by date. And for beef, stews, stir-fries, and other cuts that have been conveniently cut for you, you'll want to use within 2-3 days of the sell by date. Ground beef is the most perishable, so plan use it 1-2 days from the sell by date. If your package does have a use by date, then you should plan to cook or freeze your beef by this date.
What's the best way to freeze beef?
To keep your beef as fresh as possible when freezing, first remove from the overwrap, portion it out if you've purchased a family size package (a great way to save money on beef), and then transfer each portion into a freezer-safe bag. Squeeze as much air as you can out before zipping it up and freezing it. Uncooked beef can be safely frozen for 6-12 months. Already cooked beef can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.
What's the best way to thaw frozen beef?
The best way to thaw frozen beef is slowly in your refrigerator, never at room temperature. Be sure to place the beef on a plate or tray to catch and that may leak while thawing. However, in a pinch, you can follow these simple steps for thawing ground beef in the microwave.
Is it okay to freeze, thaw, and then refreeze beef?
Yes!!! I totally did not know this, but it can be refrozen... as long as it was thawed properly in the first place. If you defrosted it using the refrigerator method, then it's okay to put back in the freezer.
What's the best way to tell your beef is done, without cutting into it?
Invest in an inexpensive instant-read cooking thermometer! By using a cooking thermometer and this guide to determining doneness, you can guarantee perfectly cooked beef every time. A good rule of thumb for all cuts of beef, from ground beef to steaks to roasts, is that you want an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees.
So did you learn anything new??? I hope you did! And if you have any additional questions or just want a great resource that you can use any time, any place, bookmark the Interactive Butcher Counter. I love having this information right at my fingertips when I find a marked down cut of beef at the grocery store that I might not prepare very often.
To learn more about the Beef Checkoff, head over to BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com. There you can explore the different cuts of beef, learn how to grill beef in three simple steps, and browse tons of delicious beef recipes!
This post is brought to you by the Beef Checkoff. All opinions are 100% mine.