That red liquid in your steak packaging isn't actually blood

If you've ever purchased a steak at a grocery store before, you're familiar with the red liquid that always accompanies your cut in its styrofoam packaging.

Meat slices in boxes
Meat slices in boxes

Up until now, you've probably lived your life under the guise that that liquid was just au naturel cow blood.

Well, we're here to tell you that you've been misled.

The mysterious red juice is actually myoglobin, a naturally-occurring protein that helps animals store oxygen in their muscle cells.

Larger, more active animals need more oxygen to power their muscles than smaller, more sedentary animals, and hence have more myoglobin in their meat.

This is why when you prepare "white" meat like fish or chicken, which utilize their muscles less to move around than, say, a much-larger cow, you won't find any "blood" in the package.

Myoglobin turns bright red after meat is cut and exposed to oxygen, and also becomes darker when exposed to heat -- hence the dark brown color of a well-done steak.

So, the next time you order a steak rare, know that it's not bloody. It's just cooked to a lower internal temperature.

(h/t Buzzfeed)