Day 7: How To Keep Your Meat And Fish Fresh

Following on from yesterday’s ‘How To Store Your Fruits And Vegetables’ today is all about the above!

For me, a balanced diet includes meat and fish, with one very clear rule. It must be:

  • Slow grown
  • Responsibly sourced
  • Organic

Wait, is that 3? Haha 😉

Anyways, meat and fish that’s sourced using the above guidelines has a far superior flavour, is better for our world, and in most cases has a better nutritional profile.

A great example is wild venison which boasts a low fat % and a super high protein one compared to farmed and industrial beef.

Another is farmed salmon and wild salmon. Wild trout and farmed trout. You get the point 😉

Storing your meat and fish correctly will not only keep your food fresh, but safe. No one likes a mouldy oyster!

Meat

Raw meat needs to be kept on the lower shelf of the fridge or in the ‘meat drawer.

Some fridges and fridge/freezers are specifically designed and labelled so you know where to put various produce.

Some may have a lower meat drawer. If so, great, because it means you can keep the meat away from other produce.

While asking you to put raw meat in a container might sound extreme as most comes with wrapping, often I’ve found that packaging to have meat juices on it. So it’s always a good idea to wash the packaging, transfer, then wash your hands.

That doesn’t happen when I buy from my local butchers, who’ll wrap things up in the containers you give them or in their own packaging.

To check your meat is ok and fresh, make sure it:

  • Has no smell or a faint raw smell. Gone off meat often smells milky.
  • Has kept it’s original fresh meat colour.
  • The texture is firm and the same as when fresh. Gone off meat will be slimy or sticky.

A common question is also what to do when meat turns grey. Meat turning grey in my view isn’t a good thing is due to chemical changes when it’s been stored for a few days.

I always advice not to eat it. Yes, some say it doesn’t matter in the case of mince for example that often turns grey in the packet, but it’s also a sign it’s been in that packet for too long and is spoiling.

Fish

Always make sure the innards are removed and the fish has been cleaned.

Normally you won’t have to worry about this as the fishmonger will do this for you. However, she says, it’s a great time to practice your knife skills.

Simply ask for whole fish and practice gutting and filleting them from start to finish!

Once you have your clean fish, wrap it tightly in foil or wax paper. Keep in the fridge and use within 48 hours or ideally 24.

To check your fish is ok to eat, make sure it:

  • Has no smell or a faint smell of the sea. A strong odour equals do not eat.
  • Clear eyes. If they’re cloudy, don’t got there.
  • Pink gills.
  • No slime.

Shellfish

The most common mistake people make when storing shellfish is thinking they’re doing the little critters a favour by keeping them in a water bath.

But there’s two things that go wrong with this method:

  • The shellfish die because normally it’s tap water and they need salt. Even if it is a salt solution the ratio is normally wrong.
  • They spoil and they sit in gone off water.

All they need is a container and a damp cloth.

Remove them from their bag or container. Put them in a clean container and cover with a damp cloth. Be sure to use them within 24 hours.

When you come to eat them, things like clams and mussels, give them a little tap. If they close they’re safe to eat. Also clean them by scrubbing off the barnacles and pull the bears out (the little ropey looking thing).

You’ll Save Money And Reduce Food Waste

By storing your produce correctly, not only will have fresh food, but you’ll save money and food waste by preventing it all going mouldy.

Lowering your food waste is the No1 thing we, as home cooks, can do to help our world and it also saves us money so it’s a win-win!

Let’s Connect!

Along with the daily journal posts here, each Wednesday at 12pm BST I’ll be going live on my instagram @therebalancechef to recap on the week’s progress and show you around my kitchen. Depending on the weather you might even meet my rescue hens!

The main point of this challenge is to have fun with it, learn new skills and refresh old ones.

I want to see your creations so don’t forget to tag me and show off what you’ve been doing!

I’m taking part in the Rebalance May Cookery Challenge! Check it out here http://www.therebalancechef.co.uk

What’s Coming Up and Your Ingredients List

Over the next 3 days we’ll be looking at how you store herbs, meat and fish properly.

After that, we’ll be starting knife skills and you’ll be making your first recipes, salsa, stock and proper roast potatoes!

Day 9 ingredients list:

  • 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander (a small handful)
  • 150g fresh tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Optional: 1/2 red chilli

Day 10 ingredients list:

  • Chicken carcass
  • Onion, carrot, leek scraps or 1 of each if you’d prefer
  • Black peppercorns
  • A selection of herbs including rosemary, parsley, bay and thyme