Crucial Things You Should Know About Processed Meat
For a long time now, there has been plenty of debate on which kind of meats are deemed to be processed. The practice of meat processing, was already in existence even before refrigeration was invented. Since people needed to ensure their meats stayed fresh for several days or weeks, they came up with methods, that were relatively convenient for them at that time. The methods invented include salting and smoking meat. By salting and smoking, people were able to preserve their meats for lengthy periods of time. Most cultures to date still use the two methods of meat processing. People nowadays understand that when meats get processed, they are still able to retain most of their health benefits. Meat processing involves the use of preservatives, which are very safe and fit for human consumption. Processed meats can either be cooked, uncooked, whole-meat, ground, unground, or a combination of these variants.
A good question people should first ask themselves is what exactly processed meat is. Any meat that has been prepared using out of the ordinary, innovative cooking methods can be deemed as processed. Some examples of processed meats that come prepackaged include sausage, hot dogs, bacon and cold cuts. Processed meat can also be referred to as convenience food. The reason for processing meat is to preserve it so that it remains edible and its shelf life gets extended. Preservatives such as salt and flavorings give meats certain tastes such as salty, sugary or smoky.
In addition to heat treatment, processed meats can get smoked, salted or cured. Processed meats often go through different time-consuming techniques. For instance, when sausages are being fermented, they get mixed with non-meat ingredients such as salts, agents and spices, which are used in the casing of the sausage. When processed meat is in its ripening phase, it dries out and develops a unique texture and taste. Once meats go through this phase, the get packaged and distributed raw. During the entire process, no heat is used at all.
By drying or dehydrating meats in either natural or artificially created environments, you effectively make them processed, dried meats. There exists fluid in the fatty tissues of meats, and when it gets removed, the meats get prevented from spoiling easily. After this has been done, the lean parts of the meat get cut up, placed in uniform shape and allowed to dry. By drying the meats, you not only extend its shelf life, but you are also able to retain most if not all of its nutritional properties. Processing meats is a normal part of everyday culture in places such as Europe and South Africa. In the US, processed meats come from deli sections in stores and the frozen food section.