We've had discussions in the past about dry aging meat and why humidity plays an important role in that process. Humidity-controlled rooms aren't just needed in steakhouses, though. Humidity is important for many different types of operations that need assistance customizing control settings for their commercial cold storage, particularly when humidity control is part of the equation.
Up until a few decades ago, the dry method was, as it always had been, the only method of aging meat. Things changed in the 1960s. When vacuum packaging was invented, wet aging became the preferred method. In spite of the difference in taste of wet aged meat, the process causes much less shrinkage, making meat more profitable for retailers.
Here’s a definition of refrigeration systems we hear very often: It's a technology to store food. That's correct, for sure, but we have a better one. It's a technology to control temperature and humidity.
Food waste in the U.S. has long passed an alarming threshold. In 2012, research undertaken by the Natural Resources Defense Council revealed that up to 40% of food goes uneaten. While an outrageous, quantity of food is wasted, 12% of American households lacked access to enough food in 2017 (USDA research).
A few months back, we provided a more detailed look at the benefits and processes to dry aging steak. While those tips were certainly important, especially in today's steakhouse world where dry aging is all the rage, we thought we should take a step back to go through the basics of not just dry aging, but aging beef in general.
When we talk about storing and preserving foods, the first factor that typically comes to mind is temperature. While temp is absolutely a critical component in proper storage conditions (if not the most important), it's certainly not the only one.
If you ask many chefs, the concept of steak is kind of ho-hum in the fine dining world. It doesn't involve a lot of creativity. If you ask the general public, though, and even many of those same chefs when they're off hours, the idea of a juicy, well-cooked steak is often a good one.
Every time a freezer door is opened, moisture enters the conditioned space. If that air is humid, even more moisture enters. But once humid air is inside a walk-in freezer, what happens to that moisture, and how does it impact the overall refrigeration program?