How do you know when meat is fresh? Whenever I go to the store I have a hard time knowing if the meat is fresh. Other than looking at the date can you tell by looking at the meat? For example, sometimes there are some brown spots on the outside and the inside is red, does that mean it is not as fresh as the meat that is only red? ~ H.W.

A lot of the time, your nose “knows” – however, the stores would not like it if you opened up the plastic to sniff around. Therefore you need to rely on what you see. Fresh beef has cream colored fat and bright red meat. The best beef is marbled with fine strands of fat, which bastes the meat as it cooks and makes it tender and juicy.  Lower grades of beef have thicker marbling or no marbling, so the meat’s tougher after you cook it – but that has nothing to do with freshness. Bottom line – I wouldn’t pick up anything that isn’t red. Green or purple? stay away. Of course – the date always helps. Better yet – ask when they get deliveries at your store and find out the freshest time to buy – after they deliver and cut/portion up your meat, they can give you a rough estimate of the peak times to buy! (adapted from foodsubs) ~ Chef Sandy of The Kosher Tomato

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