How do you know if the beef has turned bad?
First you have to check the colour, the smell and then the texture.
Just last month, my fridge broke down and I had to evacuate all the food to my temporary ‘outdoor fridge’. No, I did not have a fridge outside but the winter cold was an advantage to leverage upon. That was the time when I learnt about ‘food management and storage’.
I remember I was supposed to prepare Shepard’s Pie for Dan to bring for a school function. I bought a chunk of minced beef and stored it in the fridge just the day before cooking, not knowing that the fridge has already stopped working. The next day, when I eagerly took out the packet of beef, I was puzzled at the colour of it. The beef was a shade of dull brown. Worried, I went to google online and found out that brown is supposed to be the natural colour of the meat and red is just the colouring. *whew* I carried on reading and people advised to check the smell and texture of the beef. I went back to my innocent looking minced meat and cautiously put my curious nose to it. *sniff* It didn’t smell quite right and my brain was trying to convince me that it was still good because throwing it away would definitely be a waste. *sniff sniff*. I could not decide. With a finger, I gently caressed the surface of the meat. Ok, the slime on it called for a definite disposal. In conclusion, a beef has gone bad when it changes colour (or moulds growing on it), has a sour and pungent smell and a slimy texture. Another recommendation is to keep all meat stored in the freezer unless you know you are going to consume it within the next 2 days.
Have you heard about not re-freezing food after it has been thawed? This is especially important for raw meat and seafood. Freezing food slows bacteria growth but it does not kill it. When a food is thawed and once room temperature is reached, bacteria will start to manifest within. Hence, as a general rule of thumb, to prevent bacteria growth please thaw your food in the refrigerator. So I had a packet of smoke ham outside. I assumed that since the ham is smoked, it has enough preservative to keep it consumable. However, I realised that was not advisable. The ham started to smell and it also had a slimy texture after 2 to 3 days. I am glad to get away with the 1st two days but it probably was not worth the risk!
Items which survived outdoor (at -10 degrees during the night):
– Bottle items like jam, mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, chili sauce etc.
– Eggs (surprisingly)
– Avocado (unpeeled)
Items which did not survive:
– Opened canned peas (the liquid probably solidified in the night and liquefied in the day)
– Opened evaporated milk ( http://www.carnationmilk.ca/faq.aspx#1 tells us professionally that we should not freeze evaporated milk. I have one in the fridge and it is time to throw it away.)
– Vegetables (we cleared most of our vegetables hence we did not manage to test its survivability but based on the same logic as mentioned above with regards to thawed food, it is better to not consume it once defrosted. Also, vegetables are not supposed to be kept more than a week in general.
This is a noob’s experience of managing the household. Chaos and unexpected discoveries kept me scratching my head from time to time. I never needed to worry about the stuff in the fridge because my dutiful mum has always been taking care of it. Nothing beats real life experience and even if it is a steep learning curve, I believe this is part of attaining independence.
Signing off with love,