By Jenna Paul
April’s Harvest of the Month is Beef. Montana is home to more cattle than people and ranks 6th in the USA for the number of beef cattle. The first beef cattle to arrive in the United States were from Mexico in the 1500s, but more arrived in the early 1600s. In 1620 in Virginia, there were about 500 head of cattle roaming the fields, and in less than a decade later, there was 30,000 bovines!
Cattle are ruminants, meaning that they have four stomach chambers that they use to digest grasses. Most cattle are raised in pastures until they are at least one year old; after which they are sold and transported to be finished, which means they are fed a grain-based diet to increase weight and fat marbling. Cattle raised and finished on grass are called grass-fed or grass-finished, and they tend to produce leaner meat.
Beef, packed with protein, helps repair body tissues including muscles. It also provides a variety of essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin B12, Iron, Choline, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamin B6, phosphorus, niacin, and riboflavin, all of which help build and repair body tissues.
Cattle have many different cuts of meat that are used including the chuck, ribs, loin, sirloin, round steak, brisket, and ground beef. When incorporating beef into your lifestyle, using leaner cuts is the way to go. Round steaks, roasts, and top sirloin steaks are among the leanest cuts. There are several ways to cook these cuts of meat. They can be broiled, grilled, sautéed, roasted, and stewed. Make sure to look for Beef in this month’s lunch!