Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Columnists

March 31, 2012

Joan Mason: Ground beef tips

AMERICUS — How much to buy?  One pound of ground beef will provide 12 ounces of cooked beef or about 2 cups cooked crumbles.

Color: Fresh beef goes through a number of color changes during it shelf life. These changes are normal and the ground beef remains perfectly wholesome. Use the “sell by” date on the label as a freshness guide. When exposed to oxygen, the color of beef will turn from dark red to bright red. This explains why a package of ground beef may appear bright red on the surface, where it is exposed to oxygen through the permeable wrap, while the interior remains purplish-red.

Storage & Safety:

• Refrigerate ground beef in the coldest section of the refrigerator.

• Use it within 1 to 2 days. Freeze any ground beef that will not be used within 2 days. Use frozen ground beef within 3 to 4 months.

• Defrost ground beef in the refrigerator or microwave, not at room temperature. Allow 24 hours for 1 to 1 1/2 –inch thick packages; 12 hours for patties. Cook soon after defrosting.

• Do not eat raw or rare ground beef. Because surface bacteria can be transferred to the interior during grinding, it’s risky to eat ground beef that has not been cooked to 160ºF.

•Cook ground beef to medium (160ºF) doneness, until not pink in center and juices are clear and show no pink color.

• Due to the natural nitrate content of certain ingredients, such as onions, celery and bell peppers, meatloaf may remain pink even when the correct internal temperature is reached. Always check the internal temperature using a meat thermometer.

• Reduce the fat in cooked ground beef crumbles by draining, then rising with hot water and draining again. This simple process reduces the fat by 50 percent. Rinsing ground beef after cooking with onion or garlic results in minimal flavor loss. Additional seasonings may be added after rinsing if desired. Reduce the fat in ground beef burgers, meatloaf, and meat balls by blotting on layered paper towels.

This great information came from the Beef Association. Be Food Safe!

 

Joan Mason is Sumter County Extension coordinator/Family & Consumer Sciences, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. Contact her at 924-4476.

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