Matured meats have become fashionable. We see them everywhere, in restaurants, butcher's shops, supermarkets... But, do we know what they are? Do we know the difference with fresh meats? Below we will discover the characteristics of both and we will be ready to decide which one we prefer. Welcome to the "combat": Fresh vs. matured meats.
What is matured meat?
Let's start by explaining what has become a trend. The maturation of meat is a process by which, in a natural way, a double objective is achieved: on the one hand, to tenderize the meat, and on the other, to give it a different flavor. But how is this achieved? Basically, there are two ways of maturing meat:
Maturation in a fridge with controlled humidity and temperature.
In this way, it is achieved that with the passage of time the meat breaks down the fiber and becomes tender, and on the other hand, it concentrates the flavor as it dehydrates. The time that has to elapse to mature the meat by this way varies according to the hardness of the meat. It is not the same to mature meat from older cows as from younger calves.
The meats that mature the most are usually the bone-in loins of animals, and normally from female cows over 4 years of age. Female meat normally has greater marbling and therefore greater flavor and juiciness. In these cases, maturation is usually around 25-35 days, since this is the time in which it has been demonstrated that 90% of the meat fiber is broken down. In addition, maturation beyond this time can add undesired flavors to the meat (dairy flavors).
With this method, it is important to maintain the chamber temperature between 1 and 3 degrees and humidity between 60% and 80%. Incorrect maturation can lead to the appearance of bacteria or mold in the meat, making it unfit for consumption.
In this case, the meat is vacuum packed with the main objective of avoiding shrinkage due to dehydration. Likewise, the meat is softened by breaking down the fiber with the passage of time. The flavor is quite different from that of the first maturation system, and maturation beyond 15 days is not recommended, since it is easy for the meat to take on plastic and metallic flavors.
Another advantage of this system is that no special chambers are needed for meat preservation. Although, without a doubt, the biggest disadvantage is that the flavor is not as strong as with the first system.
Matured or Fresh meat?
Having said this, if we ask ourselves which meat is better, matured or unripened, starting from the premise that all meats are matured (even if only for a few days), everything will depend on the type of meat we are talking about.
In short, it is not a question of which meat is better between fresh or matured, but with the maturation, we look for different flavors that make our meats even more special. Veal meat matured for one week is neither better nor worse than beef meat matured for 30 days, they are just different flavors.
What we must take into account is that maturation, especially that which exceeds 30 days, is not for everyone. Normally this type of meat has heavier digestion and therefore is less recommended for continuous consumption.
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