If you don’t like buying minced meat from the store because you are not fully satisfied if you are buying the right stuff you should have a meat grinder in your kitchen.
This way you will have the satisfaction that you are consuming healthier meat which does not have chemicals and additives that come with the stored meat.
But this only partially solves the problem. While meat grinders can make your job a lot easier – you just have to slip the meat into the machine and it will do the rest – not maintaining the machine properly can also cause problems.
Another advantage of having a meat grinder is that you can get light grounded meat that has the entire flavor that you expect in the meat you purchase. You also get the chance to experiment with what texture and meat to use when using meat grinders at home.
It is also way faster to get your own meat grinder to do the job for you than going to the store and purchasing the stuff. However, even if there is a machine that does the grinding for you, it can be very messy and not caring for your meat grinder may cause it to become contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella.
If you clean it properly, you ensure the quality of the meat you grind with the machine and it is safer to eat.
No matter what type of meat grinder you have, cleaning up all these machines is quite similar with only one or two parts varying from one another. Here are some good tips you can try out when cleaning your meat grinder to get the best results.
When Preparing your Grinder
Before you start with the thorough cleaning of your grinder, make sure you remove the excess raw meat inside the grinder before disassembling the parts.
Take one or two pieces of bread and put them inside the feeding tube. The bread would serve as a sponge and gather all the meat you wouldn’t get manually, especially the tiny pieces on the surface of the blades, plates or in the feeding tube itself.
While this bit is not actually required, this will ensure that you can get rid of the entire meat residue that may cause contamination if left inside the machine.
Washing the Parts
Once you make sure that your meat grinder is free from any meat residue and excess meat, it’s now time to disassemble the machine for a more thorough cleaning.
If you have an electric meat grinder, make sure you unplug it before you do anything or you might get electrocuted in the process!
Slowly remove the removable parts such as the grinding screws, the plates, the cutting blade and the blade cover for cleaning. When handling the blade, watch out how you hold it because they are very sharp!
It is best to clean your meat grinder by hand since the metal parts of these machines can be very sensitive. Dishwashers are ok but they will blunt the blades faster than one might like.
Use a large bowl with soapy water and let the removable items soak for around 15 minutes. Soaking will allow additional left over residue to be removed from the parts without any problem.
After 15 minutes, scrub each one of them with a sponge to remove the remaining residue and clean it. For the grinding plate, hopper and feeding tube, use a bottle brush to get those hard-to-reach places cleaned.
Make sure you clean every bit nice and thorough since bacteria can easily remain in these areas. This bit should not be done if you have an electric model because you will short circuit the motor if you did.
Just use a moist rag to clean your grinder’s motor housing and don’t put your grinder’s base in water.
Once you are done with cleaning, dry out each part with a clean towel to prevent rusting – which is bad for your food – and then leave it out to dry.
Storing your Grinder
For the owners of meat grinders the major worry is how to avoid rusting and oxidation of the machine, especially the blades and the metal plating. In order to prevent it from happening, you can spread a thin layer of oil on these metal parts after you have cleaned and dried them.
Some users have suggested mineral oil which is food-grade, to coat their grinders with since there would not be any foul odor that might cling to the blade and it also coats your metal components evenly. Just spray or wipe the parts – including the screws- with oil then store them in a plastic bag.
To avoid rusting put some rice inside the plastic bag which will absorb moisture that triggers rusting. Before using the machine spray it with some bleach to disinfect it.
Clean the machine thoroughly before using it. To make your own bleach solution, just put one tablespoon of pure/concentrated bleach into one gallon of water and mix it.
Blade Caring 101
It is a misconception that in order to maintain the sharpness of the blade you have to sharpen it manually with a sharpening stone or any other such tool.
The blades of the grinders actually become sharper each time you grind meat or when they rub with the grinding plate. However, if you keep using your grinder for all types of meat and use it regularly, you may need to sharpen the blades.
It is best to bring the blades to a professional sharpener if you indeed have blunted them. But if you are not using the machine, you can wrap the blades in a cloth.
Putting them in a cloth ensures that they will not rub against other parts of the machine that can affect their sharpness while you keep the grinder in storage.