Should we remove the foam from the water when boiling meat?

Provided the meat is in good condition at the time of boiling, such foam should not cause any problems. It is advisable to remove the foam to improve the appearance of the broth.

Should we remove the foam from the water when boiling meat?
Shall the foam be removed from the water when boiling meat? Photo by Frank Zhang / Unsplash

The experience acquired in food preparation is, traditionally, thanks to the teaching of parents or by following recipes in the media or, more recently, on the Internet. In the preparation of certain dishes, there are often steps that we do not understand the reason for; however, we repeat them to ensure success. Today we will talk about something very common in the preparation of broths.

When we boil meat during the preparation of broth-based foods, it is normal that once the boiling point is reached, a whitish foam starts to appear on the surface of the container, so in many recipes, it is suggested to take a spoon or strainer and remove it.

Meat from different animal species (beef, pork, chicken, etc.) contains between 70% to 75% water, which is located attached to the muscle fibers in a group of proteins called sarcoplasmic, as explained by Gastón Torrescano Urrutia, academic of the Coordination of Food Technology of Animal Origin of the Center for Research in Food and Development (CIAD).

Due to the action of heat, the water contained inside the muscle fibers comes out together with other components, taking these proteins with them, becoming visible in the form of bubbling foam.

People mistakenly associate the presence of foam in protein foods as a sign of decomposition and whose ingestion could affect the consumer's health. However, if the meat is in good condition at the time of boiling, such foam cannot cause any problem.

The practice of removing the foam is advisable to improve the appearance of broths since it has been scientifically proven that, during the tasting of food, this characteristic has a negative influence on the diner, mainly through the sense of sight.

When the meat is boiled, it begins to release nutrients (mainly protein) that are integrated into the foam. The amount of these nutrients is not important, so removing them does not considerably affect their nutritional value. Finally, the decision to remove it or not is left to the consumer's consideration.