One of the most important things to understand and consider, as your local butcher well knows, is to be able to securely and safely store all of your meat, poultry, fish, and game. It may seem like a simple matter but your favorite cuts can be delicate and must be treated with care if you are to get the most in flavor and enjoyment out of them.
- Bacteria are the major concern when storing your foods. Poor storage habits can lead to airborne bacteria infections especially with regard to meat and poultry. When shopping for your meat, poultry, or game, visit your local butcher shop last. Run all of your other errands and do all of your other shopping first. This will help keep un-refrigerated time down to a minimum.
- Minimize your temperature fluctuations. Bacteria will thrive in conditions ranging anywhere from 40 – 140 degrees F. Also, when shopping at your local butcher shop, try and keep all of your meats, poultry and fish separate from one another. Your butcher will, of course, know that but it is a good thing to keep in mind.
- Refrigerate as soon as you get it home and always thaw something out in the refrigerator at temperatures that can hang around 40 degrees. Thawing out in the refrigerator will be more time consuming but it will guarantee that temperature fluctuations don’t occur so that the bacteria can attack and multiply.
- Don’t bother washing your meat or poultry prior to cooking it. You may run the risk of any bacteria that has already formed being splashed about your counters and sink. If you are going to marinate, do so in the refrigerator. Again, temperature control is the key. Be sure to cook your meats at the specified temperatures so as to properly kill off any bacteria. If you unsure about cooking temperatures, just ask your local butcher.