Page:Meat for Thrifty Meals.djvu/5

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To cut down fuel costs, select meat that can be cooked on top of the stove, that is, unless you are using a coal or wood stove for heating the kitchen, or for some other purpose, and your oven is hot anyway.

Ready-to-eat meats and canned meat have an important place on the carefully planned shopping list. Canned meat is already cooked and, like left-over meat, can be quickly turned into many a good dish.


Save Trimmings and Bones

Preparing a cut of meat for the pan may call for a certain amount of trimming. Save any well-flavored lean tidbits to make stew or to grind for meat patties. Save the fat trimmings. If they have a good flavor, render or melt them down at low heat, strain the drippings, store in a covered container in a dry, cold place, and use the fat for cooking. It is especially important in wartime that no fat be wasted. Return any surplus fat to the processor, if practicable. Otherwise make into soap any fat not suitable for food. Save the bones for soup.

Keep Meat Clean and Cold

Fresh meat spoils quickly and easily; so keep it cold, and of course, clean. How long meat can be kept safely depends on its condition when you receive it and how cold it is kept.

As soon as fresh meat, ground or in the piece, arrives in the kitchen, take off the wrapping paper and store the meat loosely covered in a cold place. If you do not have a refrigerator or some other place just as cold, cook the meat promptly. Ground meat is very perishable. It spoils quickly even in a cold place, so cook it within 24 hours. If meat in the piece is to be kept as long as 2 days, store it, if possible, at 45° F. or colder. Meat may be kept safely even longer in the freezing compartment of a refrigerator.

Liver, kidney, sweetbreads, brains, and other meat organs spoil more quickly than other cuts of meat. Cook them promptly.

Frozen meat requires special care. Thaw it slowly and cook as soon as possible. Do not refreeze it. Frozen meat, once it is thawed, is more perishable than chilled meat.

The modern type of very mildly cured ham should be stored in the same way as fresh meat, in the refrigerator or other cold place. Strongly cured meat should be kept in a cool, dry, dark place that is tightly screened.

When ready to cook fresh or mildly cured meat, wipe it off with a clean cloth wrung out of cold water. Do not soak the meat in water—soaking draws out juice and with it some of the flavor and food value. An old ham or strongly cured pork shoulder, however, generally needs thorough scrubbing. They may require overnight soaking in water to remove some salt.