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Tips for Cooking Pork

written by: Audrey Alleyne • edited by: Rhonda Callow • updated: 7/1/2011

There are some diet plans which never include pork. There are also many people who shy away from pork. Yet, for many, it is a very popular meat. Is pork nutritious or harmful? Can we enjoy pork and get the best nutrition from it? This article explores some nutritional ideas for preparing pork.

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    Handling and Storing

    There are so many negative ideas about pork, that even though we enjoy a succulent chop now and then, or some tender ribs or a delicious roast, some of us do feel guilty after and wonder if there is any harm in eating pork.

    To allay your fears, simply follow these two important rules: do not eat too much of it too often, and when you do eat it, make sure it is well cooked. The handling and storing of pork is very important. Be sure to select good, fresh pork from your grocery store. Look at “sell-by” date on the label and purchase it on or before that date. If you are not cooking it immediately, store it in the refrigerator, but cook it within five days or freeze it. Once you cook it, you must eat it within two hours. Leftovers can remain in the fridge for up to 4 days or can be frozen; but never refreeze pork that has been partially thawed. When you reheat cooked pork, use a meat thermometer to ensure that it is reheated to 165 degrees.

    Wash your hands with hot soapy water before handling any food including pork. Use a non-porous cutting board, and be sure to wash all surfaces which touch raw pork, before those surfaces touch cooked pork or any other food.

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    Freezing, Thawing and Marinating

    When you marinate pork, do this in a covered container in the refrigerator. Never leave pork to marinate on the countertop, and never reuse a marinade. Also, you should thaw your pork in the refrigerator. Pork dishes like ribs or sweet and sour pork can be frozen for up to three months only, if you want to ensure the best quality when eating it again.

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    Cooking Methods

    pork chops 

    Some people are of the opinion that pork must be cooked for long periods, but pork actually cooks quickly, and you should avoid overcooking it. The meat needs to reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees, and can be slightly pink when done; although some people prefer to see it a dark brown.

    You can add extra flavor by marinating and seasoning with non-fat, low sodium herbs and spices, in preference to high fat sauces and gravies. There are many different cuts of pork, and many different ways of cooking the different cuts. One good piece of news about pork is that it is leaner than it has ever been. Pork today, has far less fat than it used to.

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    References

    Kitchen Daily - How To Cook Pork: http://www.kitchendaily.com/2009/11/20/how-to-cook-pork/

    Image Credits:

    Wikimedia Commons, Stu Spivack, http://flickr.com/photos/stuart_spivack/34677132/, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pork_chops_served.jpg