No one can say that their mind wasn’t blown when it came to light years ago that the white gunk that you find oozing out of your salmon wasn’t actually fat, but a harmless, yet wholly unappetising, soluble protein named albumin. The debunked culinary myth was a shock to the system for many a fish-eater. But another day, another utterly unexpected food revelation, and this time we have a downright doozy for you food lovers.Most people by now know already that steak is the food of gods. Whether it be rib-eye or rump, sirloin or T-bone, prime rib or fillet, the flavour, tenderness and juiciness of the heavenly cut of meat is unequivocally equalled by no other, and is truly the fulfilment of all of our gustatory dreams.
However, if you’re not travelling out to eat, there is one massive downside to cooking up a piece of steak: the bloody mess you have to attend to when you purchase a raw slab of it. But what if I told you that the red liquid that comes hand-in-hand with the delicious chopped meat wasn’t actually blood?
In a culinary revelation that is sure to turn the world of many a steak-lover upside down, I can reveal that the “blood” in your steak is in fact actually myoglobin. Myoglobin is the protein that delivers oxygen to an animal’s muscle tissues. This protein turns red whenever the meat is cut or exposed to air, meaning that we often mistake it for blood when we see steak packaged up in the supermarket.Heating up the meat turns it a darker colour, meaning that rare meat isn’t bloody, it is simply cooked to a lower temperature so the protein hasn’t had a chance to become darker. In addition, animals with more active muscle tissues, as well as older animals, possess meat with more myoglobin.Jeffrey Savell, a professor of Meat Science at Texas A&M University, described this idea to the Huffington Post by saying: “That’s why veal, which is the meat from a baby calf, is much lighter in color than steak from a full-grown cow ― its muscles haven’t been activated as much as the older cows. It’s also why darker meat is found on turkey legs (where there’s more active muscle tissue) and lighter meat is found in the breasts.”Savell also revealed that the suspicious-looking meat you’ll often stumble upon in the discounted area and walk past is completely safe to eat, despite appearing pretty gross upon first glance. Who knew? “Brown meat doesn’t mean it’s bad,” Savell said. “But [grocery stores] will discount it, mark it down. If you buy brown meat, just be sure to cook it right away, because it’s likely already been out there for three or four days.”
Well, it’s true: you learn something new every day. Next time I’m feeling in the mood to flash the cash and head down to the shops to buy myself a scrumptious steak, I’ll no longer waste any precious shopping time by shuddering at the sight of the so-called “blood”. I wonder what food myth we’ll bust next?