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Meat; hanging and aging
Meat, in general, is tenderised by being allowed to 'hang' for a period of time, its flavour also develops. The practice probably started in America, when refrigeration made this possible.
The alternative to this is to eat it immediately, before rigor mortis stiffens the animals muscles.
The advantages of a traditional butcher, rather than a supermarket, are often accentuated by the care taken in this 'hanging' process.
The length of time meat should hang largely depends on its fat covering, for unless it has enough outside fat, it will deteriorate, even spoil, if held for more than five days or so.
Veal and lamb generally lack the necessary fat covering and are not aged more than a few days; whereas beef and mutton carcasses benefit from a longer period of from five to eighteen days (and in the case of beef sometimes up to six weeks) at a temperature of 34 to 38 F. Enzymes in the meat soften the muscle tissues.
Beef and mutton, however, benefit from a more lengthy hanging period - as long as eighteen days (and for beef, even as long as six weeks if stored at 34