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Freezing turns the liquid within the cells into frozen crystals. The formation of these sharp angled
crystals can break a delicate wall such as a cell membrane pretty easily and quickly. Then as the meat
subsequently thaws, the contents of the cell seep out.
The thawed meat is therefore more likely to dry out during cooking, because it has a lower initial water
content. This also explains why multiple cycles of freezing thawing causes much greater moisture
losses. Freezing should be carried out as quickly as possible, since when ice crystals form quickly,
they remain tiny.
Meat should be well aged before freezing, since meat does not continue to tenderise when frozen.
During brining, meat is placed in a very strong salt solution.
This has several effects :
· firstly, the salt will slightly disrupt the muscle tissue. The salt ions locate themselves
between the denatured protein strands, and it will therefore form a much looser
network on coagulation, so the result of moisture loss due to synergesis is reduced.
· Also, as the salt and any other flavours penetrate the meat cells, the cells will absorb
water form the brine, and its mass will increase. This also helps to tenderise the meat
because when the meat is cooked and the juices are squeezed out, the meat will
appear less dry due to its higher initial water content, and the meat will appear more
tender. It is the outer layers that will absorb the most liquid, and it is also these outer
layers that would normally tend to dry out most during cooking.
· It helps improve the taste by amplifying all the flavours of the meat
· It acts as a preservative, by providing conditions unfavorable for bacterial growth.
Salt has the disadvantage of affecting meat colour. Salt will help to oxidise myoglobin, converting it
from the bright-red coloured pigment to metmyoglobin, which is slightly brown coloured.
Unlike the other food ingredients, meat is almost always cooked before it is consumed. Meat is cooked