Most people are familiar with rabbits as fluffy pets and would not even think of eating rabbits for food. However, rabbits are a type of game meat and are sold for their lean, less fatty, and nutritious meats.
Rabbits are mostly consumed in Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Africa while there is less market for rabbit meat among American consumers because it is often associated as a childhood pet or just a cute, fluffy, and gentle animal. Nevertheless, a small number of rabbit producers and consumers have opened the market for rabbit production as meat and have even adapted or developed recipes to satisfy their tastes and complement the local, regional flavors.
- Most people just refer to rabbit meat as rabbit. However, the technical and fancier way of calling it is hasenpfeffer.
- Young rabbits that weigh less than 1.5 lbs. are called Fryers. They are the most common type of rabbit meat for consumption.
- Humans have been consuming rabbits as early as 1500 BC. Both Native Americans and Settlers have butchered rabbits for food consumption.
- Rabbit meat is considered to be an excellent survival food. If you’re stuck in the forests, the high-protein and B12 content in the rabbit can nourish your body while waiting to be rescued.
Rabbit Buying Guide
Rabbit is considered a very lean game meat. It is rarely sold in cuts as it is usually butchered as a whole. You can choose from 8 different cuts depending on your local butcher. Main rabbit cuts include the head, shoulder, rib, leg, back, and hindleg.
Butchering rabbit is considered a finicky business and is much more complicated than butchering chicken so it’s best to just bring your game to the butchers or have someone skilled assist you in the process.
Rabbit Production & Farming in Texas
Some people are skeptical about breeding rabbits in Texas because of its extreme climates. However, the high humidity and hot summer heat of Teas does not affect the breeding of the rabbit, they can still produce litters throughout the year. Countries with tropical climates provide the best condition for raising fryers.
Commercially bred rabbits are sturdier than their purebred counterparts. Long years of selective breeding have resulted in the production of the perfect traits and characteristics to ensure superior genetic quality. These rabbit types are capable of being reproductively active without resting.
Housing and ventilation are essential to rabbit production and preparations must be undertaken to shield the animals against heat or cold waves and other extreme weather conditions in Texas. During hot summer days, rabbits should not be directly exposed to sunlight to prevent heat strokes and on winter days, rabbits must be guarded against chilling winds, strong rains, and cold breeze.
Rabbits, hares, and bunnies are found all over the world and have been domesticated by humans ever since Roman times. Rabbits kept as live stocks are bred for their fur and meat. Soft rabbit fur can be spun into yarn and is sold to high-end fashion manufacturers.
Cottontail rabbits are the most common rabbits in North America. They live for about two years depending on their living conditions and the concentration of predators in the area. Cottontails have a gentle and friendly appearance but they have spent most of their lives escaping predators so they can be very defensive and will quickly dart off once threatened.
Rabbits are one of the safest and most environmentally friendly meats among all the commercially produced meats available in the market. People have long compared the taste of rabbit meat to chicken meat but consumers are all praises for its leaner and less fatty nature.
Some people are unfamiliar with the proper handling of rabbit meat because it’s unfamiliar for them. Rabbits should be stored below 40°F. When frozen carefully, it can last from 9 to 12 months.
It is unsafe to defrost rabbits on the counter as it may become a breeding ground for bacteria making it unsafe for consumption. It’s best to defrost the rabbit in your fridge for 24 to 48 hours.
For those who are dieting, rabbits are great in soups, stews, and casseroles. Rabbit or hare stew is a hunter’s prize in different parts of the world including Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Germany, Morocco, North Africa, and the UK.
Lean rabbit meat is stewed along with caramelized celery, onions, and mushrooms, deglazed with white wine and chicken stock then sprinkled with parsley for a touch of green freshness.
Although not a lot of people consume rabbits, their meat is leaner and less fatty than chicken. Check your local producers and order rabbit from your nearest organic farms.
Niacin: Niacin has many functions. It is used to regulate cholesterol levels by decreasing LDL cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol. Thereby reducing heart attacks and strokes. Niacin also helps in the growth of new blood vessels which can be helpful to stroke patients. Finally, Niacin helps reduce the spread of skin cancers.
Iron: Iron helps in the production of hemoglobin and is essential to carrying oxygen to the lungs and muscles.
Selenium: Selenium is essential in fighting against cancer, asthma, cognitive decline, and thyroid issues.
Phosphorus: Phosphorus plays a key role in the growth of bones and teeth. It also aids in the repair and maintenance of cells.
Protein: Protein is one of the building blocks of the body and is an important component of muscles, bone, skin, and hair.
Vitamin B12: This regulates the function of the brain and the nervous system. It also aids in the formation of red blood cells, preventing anemia, fatigue, depression, and other mood swings.