Meat lovers across the globe love their medium rare steaks and all the juice that comes with them. How do you feel about this “blood”?
Most people find it surprising to learn that that blood isn’t blood at all. While it looks like blood it is actually just a mixture of water and the protein myoglobin. Oh, and to make things a bit more interesting it is considered safe to eat.
Myoglobin carries oxygen to muscle cells and is naturally red in color. This is why most people just assume that it is blood. When it is exposed to heat these proteins change color and are no longer red. This is why the juice from ‘well-done’ steaks do not look bloody all the while still containing myoglobin.
It is an unfortunate fact that most commercial meat packaging companies actually treat their raw steaks with carbon monoxide to keep them red. This is because for some reason grocery shoppers tend to associate the color red with raw beef freshness. The more myoglobin a meat contains the darker/redder it will be.
A fresh-cut slab of cow meat would actually be a purple color. Exposure to oxygen is what causes it to turn so cherry-like and then the carbon monoxide helps to keep it that way. Just because the meat turns brown doesn’t mean it is bad meat. While consumers have deemed it less desirable it is still perfectly fine to eat.
Myoglobin is why some meats are dark and others are white. For instance, chickens primarily have dark meat where they are most active in their legs and so forth. Animals with red meat use more of their muscles for extensive activity. Because of that extensive activity, their muscles have more myoglobin. There are actually lots of misconceptions in regards to meat. Jeffrey Savell, a professor of Meat Science at Texas A&M University told Huffington Post that meat is about 70 percent water and when mixed with the myoglobin and other pigments that leak out, creates the juice that many people think is blood.
For more information on this check out the video below. Whether you are a meat eater or not this is an interesting fact. How do you like your steak?