Are You Getting the Best Organic Beef?

in Beef
There's beef. Then there's organic beef. And then there's truly superior grass-fed organic beef - the kind that is only raised by a select group of American family farms. Does the difference really matter? If you want a choice that's good for you, good for the planet, and good for your taste buds, here's a quick primer on what separates the best from the rest.

1. Raised right. The best beef comes from happy cows. If you think that sounds crazy, you haven't visited a small organic farm specializing in grass-fed beef. The cattle spend most of their lives roaming free on beautiful rolling pastures, eating high-quality, pesticide-free grass. Cattle that are humanely treated, unstressed and healthy (and free of added hormones or antibiotics) produce a higher standard of beef. Not only is this beef delicious, but also better for you, with less saturated fat and more beneficial Omega-3s and CLAs.

2. Dry aged. Few people do it well, and almost nobody does it for grass-fed organic beef. But once you taste juicy grass-fed ribeyes, tenderloins and other steakhouse favorites that have been dry aged for 14-21 days to tenderize the beef and enhance the flavor, you'll never want to go back to wet-aged cuts, which have become the industry norm. Wet aging is easier and less expensive. It tenderizes the beef, but it doesn't concentrate the flavor. Dry-aged organic beef must be kept in a temperature-controlled, closely watched, refrigerated environment for at least 14 days. The difference between wet aging and dry aging is widely recognized - and dry aging is usually reserved for only the highest quality beef.

3. Expertly butchered.  Once upon a time, everyone had a neighborhood butcher. Today, butchering is a disappearing art...but there are still experts, many of whom learned their skills from fathers or grandfathers. The best organic beef recalls the days when skilled butchers took pride in knowing how to achieve the best taste and texture with the perfect cut.

The grass-fed difference

Grass-fed ranchers feed their animals only pasture grass, as well as some legumes and hay - never grain, which is not part of a cow's natural diet.

Only a decade ago, few consumers were aware of the distinction between grass-fed and grain-finished beef. But a series of disease scares - including the late 2003 discovery of a "mad" cow in the U.S. that led to the destruction of hundreds of animals - has helped spark greater interest in grass-fed beef.

Today, there is more and more interest in grass-fed beef's health benefits. For example, although grass-fed meat is low in "bad" fat (including saturated fat), it gives you two to six times more of a type of "good" fat called "omega-3 fatty acids." Read the PBS story "Green Beef Catches On" for more about the grass-fed revolution.

Better quality, better taste

The best beef comes from farms that are certified organic. But for beef that's truly a cut above, look for sources that are also personally committed to practices that result in exceptionally high-quality, good-tasting meats.

At Greensbury, we love visiting our network of trusted family farms, because we're reminded with every visit how much they care about preserving traditional farming methods and caring for their animals. Certified organic beef with no antibiotics, no added hormones, no pesticides, and no herbicides if a great choice for you and the environment. When you choose organic grass-fed beef that has been raised on a nurturing farm, dry-aged and expertly butchered, you're treating your body and palate to a true American classic.

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Gen Wright has 1 articles online

Donna Jefferson has been an advocate living healthy. Organic Beef is her specialty and would like to share facts with the public.

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Are You Getting the Best Organic Beef?

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This article was published on 2009/10/02