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Flesh of mature cattle, as distinguished from veal, the flesh of calves. The best beef is obtained from steers (castrated males) and heifers (female cows that have not calved). Tenderness and flavour are improved by aging; in one common method, the carcass is hung for about two weeks at approximately 36 °F (2 °C). The world's primary beef producers and consumers are the U.S., the European Union, Brazil, China, Argentina, and Australia. Grading standards are relatively uniform; in the U.S., grades range from prime and choice to utility and canner. Beef provides protein and B vitamins; it also contains saturated fat, an excess of which can contribute to heart disease and other health problems. Beef is not eaten by Hindus because of the sacred status of the cow.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on beef, visit Britannica.com.