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Beef

An Introduction
Whether making the perfect Sunday roast, the juiciest steak or the meatiest lasagne, beef holds a special place with cooks and consumers alike for its deep flavours and rich textures. Fresh beef has cream-colored fat and bright red meat.

Beef is the culinary name for meat from bovines, especially domestic cattle. Flesh of mature cattle, as distinguished from veal, the flesh of calves. The best beef is obtained from steers (castrated males) and heifers (female cows that have not calved).The world's primary beef producers and consumers are the U.S., the European Union, Brazil, China, Argentina, and Australia.

Beef is not eaten by Hindus because of the sacred status of the cow. However recently the renowned historian D.N.Jha  have

stumbled upon the facts relating to the presence of beef in pre-Islamic Vedic India two years ago, while researching Indian dietary habits.According to him, there is plenty of historical evidence to support the theory. An ancient Hindu text, the Manusmriti (200BC to 200AD), lists the cow as one of several animals whose meat can be eaten. A mention is also made, he says, in one of the two great Indian epics - the Mahabharata - which speaks of beef being a delicacy served to esteemed guests.

 

Etymological Background
After the Norman Conquest, when England was under the rule of the French then this word originated - the animal called cu by the Anglo-Saxon peasants, was called buef by the French nobles when it was served to them for dinner.

Historical Background
The flesh of bovines has been eaten by hunters since the prehistoric times, some of the earliest known cave paintings such as those of Lascaux show Aurochs in hunting scenes. Domestication of cattle occurred around 8000 BC, providing ready access to beef, milk and leather. Most cattle originated in the Old World with the exception of bison hybrids. Examples include the Wagyu from Japan, Ankole-Watusi from Egypt, and longhorn Zebu from the Indian subcontinent. Many believe that cattle where first domesticated in Europe and Asia during the Stone Age. Remains of domesticated cattle dating to 6,500 B.C. have been found in Turkey and other

sited in the near East. Cattle were widely used for meat across the Old World. Some breeds were specifically bred to increase meat yield or improve texture like the Murray Grey, Angus or Wagyu, etc. Today many different cattle breeds roam the plains of the world. All these breeds stemmed from a single ancestor, the aurochs. Around 55 B.C. the Romans recorded seeing red cattle in southwestern England. The red Devon cattle from that area of England are considered one of the oldest beef breeds in existence today.

Modern domestic cattle all evolved from a single ancestor, the aurochs. It is believed that the last surviving auroch was killed in 1627 near Warsaw, Poland. The word "cattle" comes from the Old French word "chattle" which means possession.

Evidence indicates that a type of cattle apparently closely related to the Brown Swiss dairy cattle of today existed during the Bronze Age in the area now known as Switzerland. When the Romans occupied southwestern England in 55 B.C., they recorded the red cattle occupying the area.

When the Saxons and Jutes, who lived in what is now known as Denmark, conquered Great Britain, they brought their skills as cattlemen with them. The Saxons liked to cook their beef on a pointed stick over a campfire. The word "steak" comes from the Saxon word "steik", which meant meat on a stick.

Early cattle served three purposes: meat, milk, and labor. Eventually, they were replaced by horses - and later machinery - for labor in most parts of the world. Over time, cattle were developed to serve single purposes - meat production or milk production, although some breeds continue to serve as dual-purpose cattle for both meat and milk production.

One of the earliest recognized cattle breeds in the world is the Shorthorn breed, which was reported in England as early as the mid-1500's.

In 1623, two Devon heifers and a Devon bull were imported to the Plymouth Colony from Britain. These three cattle were probably the first purebred cattle to reach North America. Devon cattle were highly valued as oxen in the American Colonies.

 

Trivia

  • Hamburger meat from 1 steer would equal 720 quarter-pound hamburgers, enough for a family of 4 to enjoy hamburgers each day for nearly 6 months
  • The United States and Brazil are the top beef producing countries in the world
  • More than 100 medicines used by humans come from cattle
  • One cowhide can produce enough leather to make 20 footballs or 18 soccer balls or 18 volleyballs or 12 basketballs
  • Beef is the number one source of zinc in the human diet
  • Cattle are ruminant animals. They have a stomach with four compartments, which allows them to eat feeds like grass and hay that humans cannot eat
  • The average cow has more than 40,000 jaw movements per day
  • A cow spends 6 hours eating and 8 hours chewing its cud each day.
 

Retail Beef Cuts
Cultural differences are also a factor in determining beef flows. India is the only major country where religious belief limits the consumption of beef, other factors such as cooking techniques(braising vs. stir frying vs. roasting), consumer perceptions of healthfulness, and preferences in color or size of cuts may
determine sales in certain markets. The move to marketing meat cuts has allowed exporters to target specific markets with the products that match consumer preferences. Examples include high-value table
cuts destined for Japan, low-value cuts for sausage to Russia, and a mixture of cuts for Mexican consumers. Those exporters who alter cutting characteristics, or otherwise address consumer needs, have a better chance of increasing sales.

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 one cooks it.

  • Chuck : The chuck section comes from the shoulder and neck of the beef, and it yields some of the most flavorful and economical cuts of meat.  The downside is that these cuts tend to be tough and fatty, and they have more than their fair share of bone and gristle.  It's usually best to cook them slowly in a liquid.
  • Rib: Meat from the rib section tends to be tender and well marbled with the fat that makes steaks and roasts juicy and flavorful.  Rib steaks and roasts are sometimes called "prime rib" even when the meat isn't good enough to be graded "prime" by the USDA.  It's best not to marinate rib cuts.
  • Loin: The loin yields the most tender and expensive cuts of beef--but not the most flavorful.  The choicest portion is the tenderloin, which is exquisitely tender and lean. The top loin and sirloin are not as tender, but they're a bit more flavorful.  Cuts from the loin require very little work to taste great.  Indeed, steak lovers consider it almost a sacrilege to marinate them, or to cook them beyond medium rare.   
  • Round:The round is a kind term for the rear end of the carcass.  Those muscles are well exercised, so round cuts tends to be a bit tougher and leaner than cuts from the loin.  Round cuts do well if they're cooked with moist heat, and many of them can also be roasted, as long as they're not overcooked. 
  • Breast and Flank: The breast and flank yield an assortment of cuts, including the flank steak, skirt steak, hanger steak, brisket, and short ribs.
  • Miscellaneous Cuts: This category includes cuts taken from different parts of the carcass, including ground beef, stew meat, and soup bones.

Nutritional Value of Beef
The use of lean and clean beef is advisable to include in diet, it could be as an ingredient in stews or traditional recipes. Beef is a popular meat rich in protein, being a red meat had always made it a bad food when it comes to studies and researches. However, it has laso been established that a lean beef adds to health benefits related to heart and prevention of cancer. As a matter of fact, no one can deny that beef is an important source of protein.

Nutrition Facts and Information about Beef
Beef is found to be very rich in Zinc, Selenium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Magnesium. Sodium and Copper are found in good quantities. However, minute quantities of Calcium and Mangnese are also present
Beef is one of the best source for Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6 Niacin and Riboflavin. However, it is also rich in Thiamin and Pantothenic Acid. Small amounts of Vitamin E, Vitamin K and Folate are present
The calorie count of Beef per 100 gm is 155.0, it is meat which is higher in protein and moderate in fat.

For those concerned about fat in their diet, one should be vigilant when selecting meats by opting for cuts in which the fat can be easily removed before eating, or else the lean and extra lean cuts. According to Health Canada, all cuts of beef in which the fat has been removed can be considered lean, with the exception of short ribs.

Health Benefits of Beef
Beef is good for bones and teeth. It enhances immunity against infections of ear etc., and prevents blood vessel walls from damaging. Moderate consumption of lean beef is altogether good for cardiovascular health and to prevent cancer risks.

Storage Life
Beef should be stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator (between 0-4° C, 32-40° F), in its original wrapper if intact, and away from any cooked meats. If the beef is cooked, in other words leftover meat, ensure that it is at room temperature before wrapping in aluminum foil and placing in the refrigerator. To freeze beef, it should be wrapped in plastic and then in aluminum foil. Freezer bags or containers made for the freezer can also be used.

Demand Anticipated to Increase
Increases in global incomes in a number of key regions and the advent of a more liberalized trading environment have contributed to substantial growth in international beef trade over the past 15 years. Beef exports among the major traders are projected at 4.8 million tons in 1997, up 45 percent from 1980. But certain trade barriers—sanitary, quality, technological, and cultural—combined with changing production, marketing, and political conditions have also played an important role in the evolution of beef markets.

As various world economies and individual incomes increase, a common result is an increase in beef consumption. As the various worlds' peoples become more affluent a common reaction is for their consumption of red meat even though it may be more common for them to eat other meat products such as pork, poultry or fish. Beef is considered by most to be a premium food product and most individuals will prefer beef when economics allow.

There has been a significant decrease in beef consumption through the late 90's and into the 2000's which is related to the outbreaks of FMD and BSE. This decline is expected to reverse itself as the cattle industry rebuilds itself.

The world’s five largest importers — the U.S., Japan, Russia, the EU, and Canada—account for about 70-75 percent of global imports. Market liberalization has begun to increase demand for imported beef in a number of Pacific Rim countries. Although currently small importers, South Korea, Taiwan, and Mexico are expected to see substantial growth. These countries tend to demand grain-fed beef.

So according to the market experts the overall demand is expected to grow over the next few years, once again, barring some unseen event that might negatively affect consumer confidence in the safety of the beef product or events that might have wide-reaching socioeconomic implications. Much of the change in consumption of beef across the world will come as consumer confidence in beef products increases. This will have to be through measures taken both domestically and internationally by exporters to establish policy and infrastructure which can guarantee a safe product.

 
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