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Old 01-31-2007, 03:35 PM   #1
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Marinating and Food Safety

Has anyone, and this is aimed at our Mex-Tex members, The El Paso Chile Co.'s Texas Bordr Cookbook?? They talk about leaving beef, chicken, shell fish out on the counter for several hours in different marinades. Do chile peppers really keep the meat, poultry, and shell fish safe? Personally I don't think so, but am I wrong??

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Old 01-31-2007, 05:22 PM   #2
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Normally the germs that are going to harm us are on the surface of the meat and my guess is that an acidic marinade willl help kill them or at least stunt their growth.

We grind our own meats because when we do the bugs on the surface have just been ground into the rest of the meat. That contrasts with store purchased ground meat that has been sitting in the case with their ground in bacteria procreating for an unspecified period of time.

We do it because the freshly ground tastes good and not because of the bacterial contamination.

For many, many years bought the stuff ground from the market and have never had a problem.

My point is I believe we go a bit crazy about food germs.

Have been in Mexico in areas that I should not have been in (because of banditos), and eaten with many Mexicans whose food hygiene was not that many of us would be used to. That was what they had, those were poor areas.

And yet they survived.

There was no refrigeration at all. Particularly when we were in the Sonoran desert in the summer.

Never had a problem with the food. Was far more worried about the banditos than the grub. The banditios were a real menace.

Personally would not worry about leaving the stuff to marinate at room temp, but that is just me.

Everyone has to do what he/she feels comfortable with.

But dagnabbit (an old Gabby Hayes phrase) for some reason our ancestors got by with little to preserve the food.

That does not mean we should not be careful.

To me it just means we, sometimes, I believe, go a bit crazy about food preservation.
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Old 01-31-2007, 05:25 PM   #3
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Chile peppers don't. Acid does to some extent.

I'd leave stuff out for 2 hours but that's about as long as I am comfortable with.

Marinating beef for several hours won't add much, probably. I ususally marinate overnight in the fridge and then let it sit out at room temp for 2 hours before cooking.

I marinate chicken in the fridge and again let it sit out for an hour or so before cooking.

Shellfish will be mushy if left to marinate for several hours if the marinade has acid in it. I marinate seafood for less than an hour and usually on the counter.
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Old 01-31-2007, 05:34 PM   #4
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auntdot, HH and I were just talking about this in a roundabout way the other day. Kids today seem to have more asthma, ADD. allergies, etc. than we ever remember our fellow kids suffering in childhood.

What's the difference? There's more Clean Police around now than there were back then. We shared drinks out of pop bottles (bottles!), drank water from the hose, ate chicken that had been thawing on the counter all day, shared one bathroom with the rest of the family in which you used the least-wet towel for at least a week. You know what I'm talking about.

Elf, I think you will be OK.
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Old 01-31-2007, 06:44 PM   #5
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The only tidbit of information I can add......Always drink upstream from the herd.
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Old 01-31-2007, 07:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by auntdot
My point is I believe we go a bit crazy about food germs.
I agree, auntdot. I do wonder sometimes if our forebears didn't have more immunity to food-borne illnesses than we do. I remember my ex's grandma leaving things like fried chicken or beans out all night, sitting on the back of the stove, and eating them the next day.
Of course that chicken was cooked hard as a rock.
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Old 01-31-2007, 07:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudbug
auntdot, HH and I were just talking about this in a roundabout way the other day. Kids today seem to have more asthma, ADD. allergies, etc. than we ever remember our fellow kids suffering in childhood.

What's the difference? There's more Clean Police around now than there were back then. We shared drinks out of pop bottles (bottles!), drank water from the hose, ate chicken that had been thawing on the counter all day, shared one bathroom with the rest of the family in which you used the least-wet towel for at least a week. You know what I'm talking about.

Elf, I think you will be OK.
I don't know about that. I bet there are other environmental factors to blame for some of those problems, not to mention more diagnoses (too many sometimes?) and media attention.

I do think we have created a problem with our overuse of antibiotics and maybe even antibacterial products, with the former creating frightening results and the latter probably trimming our wallets more than keeping us healthy.

But in general, I'm glad we have more up-to-date information these days...doesn't mean you have to go nuts with them, but those bad habits from the past didn't always have such benign results.

Better safe than sorry, so I'm with jennyema on the two-hour limit at room temp.
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Old 01-31-2007, 07:56 PM   #8
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I do believe in bringing food to room temp before cooking it. However, I marinate in the fridge unless it is for less than 1/2 an hour.
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Old 01-31-2007, 08:00 PM   #9
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People often point back and say that our parents and their parents and their grandparents etc. left food out and survived. What they fail to say though is how many people actually did get sick. People also dies at a much younger age (for a variety of reasons). People get sick and even die from food borne illnesses all the time. I do not have any data to back up what I am saying, but I am willing to bet that it used to happen a lot more in years past. Just because someone has done it all their life will no ill effect does not mean it is safe. I will use the same analogy I always do which is you can drive a lifetime without ever wearing your seatbelt and you can do just fine. That one time you do get into an accident though you will be sorry you were not wearing it.

There used to be no seatbelts in cars. No one says, well my grandparents never wore one and they lived so I don't need to wear one. We have learned a lot about microbiology, bacteria, disease, and everything else. We need to use that knowledge to our advantage.
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Old 01-31-2007, 10:08 PM   #10
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No one says, well my grandparents never wore one and they lived so I don't need to wear one.

You apparently never met my mother, you poor soul. She firmly believed that wearing a seat belt prevented you from miraculously being able to escape a collision.

So yes, your point is well-taken, GB.
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