What is beef

What you should know about beef

How do organic, stable and tethered systems differ?

A good three million cattle are slaughtered in Germany every year. 98 percent of this comes from conventional husbandry in stables. A third of the meat comes from decommissioned dairy cows. A fifth of them live tethered, in southern Germany it is even a third. Tethering, in which the animals are fixed in one place in the stable, is legal, but not animal-friendly. Only organic cattle must have access to pasture or at least have regular access to the open air. You get GMO-free feed and have more space in the barn. However, the standards for the organic seals are very different and the meat is much more expensive. In return, the animals are kept in a species-appropriate manner and their meat is of good quality. Another positive aspect: organic farming is usually more sustainable and more climate-friendly than conventional, because the animals, for example, received non-imported, genetically modified soy feed.

How must meat be labeled?

The manufacturers must provide information about where the cattle were born, fattened, slaughtered and cut. If birth, fattening and slaughter took place in a country, it is sufficient to record this under origin. However, this rule only applies to unprocessed meat. Even a minimal addition of salt means that the obligation to label the origin is no longer necessary. Consumers should not be fooled by brand names such as Gut Ponholz or Mühlenhof, which sound like farm idyll. Large grocery chains often sell beef under such names, but they say nothing about the origin. None of these goods really exist, the meat does not come from the farm. However, the designations are legally permissible. The term quality meat also says nothing, it is not protected.

How do you recognize good beef quality?

Beef tastes best when it is well hung. A good steak should ripen for at least 18 days, be deep red to brown and, if possible, have a fine, fat marbling. Traditionally, beef matures according to the dry-aged method by slow air drying in a cold room. Only a few butchers still practice this process today, most meat is placed in a vacuum bag to mature. Gray stains on fresh meat are not indicative of old meat, they are caused by contact with oxygen. You can easily check whether the meat is still good: if the unpacked meat smells strong, it is spoiled. Packaged meat is only recommendable to a limited extent. Meat from so-called inert gas packaging, for example, looks nice and red, but it becomes tough due to the treatment with oxygen during preparation.

Store beef only for a short time - otherwise it is better to freeze it

Minced meat in particular is very sensitive. It should not be left unrefrigerated for more than 20 minutes and stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of 24 hours before it is prepared. Meat is best kept in a container with a lid in the lower compartment of the refrigerator. When freezing, the following applies: the fatter the meat, the shorter it should be stored in the freezer: fat for a maximum of six months, lean meat for up to a year. It is important to always remove protective gas packaging before freezing, otherwise the meat will go rancid. Before cooking, take the meat out of the refrigerator so that it gets room temperature and does not contract while frying.

How healthy is beef?

Beef contains some healthy vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, selenium and vitamin B12, but Germans eat too much meat overall - twice as much as the German Nutrition Society advises. Her recommendation is 300 to 600 grams per week. Meat should be avoided for some diseases, such as gout, type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular diseases.