Meat & fish facts

July 14, 2009 RENU

  1. Fat in most fish is invisible, intermingled with the tissues as oil. High-fat fish are more distinctive in flavor than lean ones b’cos their flavors are dissolved in their fish oils.
  2. Fat in meat surrounds the muscles & is often removed, though it is visible in some cuts of meat as marbling i.e white lines that look a little like a road map or a river delta).
  3. In meat, connective tissue binds together bundles of fibers within the muscle, surrounds the individual muscles, & attaches muscle to bone.
  4. Fish has shorter muscle fibers & less but tender connective tissue than meat which makes it cook faster. Connective tissues in fish are also transformed to gelatin at a much lower temp than in meat. As connective tissues dissolve, muscle fibers separate easily & the fish becomes flaky, a sign that it’s ready to eat.
  5. Protein content of fish & meat are each approximately 15% to 20%.
  6. If the meat has thawed in friz, then it’s okay to refreeze. Make sure it doesn’t sit in the “danger zone”—40°F–140°F (4°C–60°C)—for more than 2hrs. If thawed outside, cook before refreezing.
  7. Freezing turns the liquid within the cells into frozen crystals, which shear a delicate cell wall rather quickly. As meat thaws, contents of the cells seep out & meat fibers are prone to drying out as they cook. Freezing food as fast as possible minimizes the loss of liquid, b’cos when ice crystals form quickly, they remain very tiny. If the process of freezing & thawing is repeated, greater moisture losses occur & quality of the meat lessens.

Entry Filed under: Kitchen science

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