Ground beef tips

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\N \N --- Ground Beef Tips ---

Ground beef packages are labeled according to U.S. Department of Agriculture standards and by supermarket preference. Lean to fat ratios vary; however, if a package is labeled ground beef, it must be no more thant 30% fat.

A bright, cherry-red color indicates fresh ground beef. However, fresh ground beef goes through a number of color changes during its shelf life. A darker, purplish-red color is typical of vacuum-packaged ground beef or the interior of packaged ground beef which has not been exposed to oxygen. Once exposed to oxygen, ground beef will turn from darker red to bright red.

Store properly wrapped ground beef in the coldest part of the refrigerator (36 F to 40 F); use or freeze within 2 days. Ground beef can be frozen in its original transparent packaging for up to 2 weeks. For longer storage, rewrap ground beef tightly in heavy-duty aluminum foil, freezer paper or plastic freezer bags and store up to 4 months at 0 F or lower.

Defrost ground beef in the refrigerator to prevent bacterial growth.

Never defrost at room temperature.

Wash hands with hot soapy water before and after handling raw meats.

Also, wash utensils, counters, cutting boards and other surfaces raw meat has touched.

Do not overmix as patties, meatballs and loaves will have a firm, compact texture.

Cook ground beef to a least medium (160 F) doneness, or until no longer pink and the juices run clear. All forms of ground beef including patties, loaves, meatballs and crumbles should be cooked to medium doneness. It's risky to eat rare ground beef because surface bacteria are transferred to the interior of the meat during grinding.

Brush brown sauces such as teriyaki, Worcestershire or soy on the cooked surface of beef patties. When these sauces are mixed into the raw product, it is difficult to determine doneness.

* COOKFDN brings you this information with permission from: * Texas Beef Council --

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