Most people associate veal with beef. While it is true, there’s a difference between beef and veal. The beef comes from a calf that has just turned a year old while veal comes from cattle that’s just around 6 to 7 months. Although veal is classified as red meat, premium veal has a pinkish-gray or grayish red color and is known to have a tender mouthfeel and intense flavor.
Veal is essential to the production and maintenance of the dairy industry for a cow would not produce milk without giving birth to calves. Because of this, most veal comes from young, male cows because they have little to no value in the dairy production process.
- Veal farms can raise as much as 180-200 calves.
- Farmers and cattle ranchers ideally raise veal in barns to protect them from harsh weather conditions, pathogens, and predators. Barns can either have artificial or natural lighting and must be temperature-controlled and ventilated to keep the veal in its best condition
- Did you know some people would not just accept “veals” as a plural word for veal?
- Veal, bovine, or beef? Some people mix these words altogether. Technically, veal is the meat of the cow which is less than 7 months. Bovine is a calf that is a year old during which its meat is called beef.
Veal Buying Guide
Buying Veal is just like buying any beef because all the meat cuts are similarly labeled.
Veal rump comes from the back of the veal, between the loin end and under the silverside and knuckle. Its mild flavor and very tender makes it great for steaks and stews.
Rump roast comes from the hipbone and is made of muscles that are not frequently used or stretched. Thus, it can have mixtures of tenderness, juiciness, and succulence. It works best when roasted for long hours, or slice it into small cubes for stir-fried or casserole dishes.
Rump steak comes between the topside and sirloin. It has a light flavor profile, with a firmer texture, and a velvety mouthfeel. It’s best when pan-fried or grilled for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
Veal Production & Farming in Texas
Veal is raised as part of the calves born as a by-product of dairy production. Male calves are often selected as veal because of their inability to produce milk. Veal calves are often nourished to generate tasty and nutritious meat before they will be transported to auction houses or the abattoir.
Veal calves are either fed formula-based or milk-based diets. The former mixes iron along with other nutritional standards monitored by agricultural agencies to meet the ideal requirement for the veal’s growth and development. Meanwhile, the latter helps in developing a stronger meat flavor due to the rumination process which develops the meat’s texture and flavor.
The Veal production and industry in the US is booming thanks to a higher demand for veal meat products but animal welfare groups have long fought against veal production. Dairy farmers have been accused of animal abuse by feeding the young cow with formula milk instead of the mother cow’s milk to keep its iron levels low, almost to the brink of being anemic, resulting in a lump of pale meat.
Confining the veal in tight crates were once part of their rearing. Although confinement or imprisonment is very cruel to the young animals, breeders insist that restraining movement leads to more tender meat because lesser movements would impede muscle development.
Although this has put Veal in a bad light, farmers and breeders have converted into more humane ways of raising veal by giving it a more natural and holistic environment. Regardless of these adjustments, animal rights activists still insist that denying a calf its right to life is an immoral action.
Veal can either live indoors or outdoors depending on their breeders. A veal starts its life at a dairy farm where calves are grouped according to their size, age, and temperament. Most of their lives are spent at enclosed barns with controlled conditions to ensure the consistency and quality of meat.
Because of enclosed spaces, some animal rights activists would insist on breeding free-raised calves to present a less cruel product. As a response, New England has decided to include free-range veal to consumers who abide by their moral reasons. Free-range veal is raised as milk-fed calves, roaming grassy pastures, soaking sunshine, and breathing fresh air instead of being enclosed in small, humid spaces which lead to stress and discomfort.
To eat or not to eat? People have long debated about the morals of consuming veal. Moral issues against animal cruelty and the argument of an animal’s right to life have long been used to discourage its consumption.
However, humans have consumed veal for thousands of years, even as far as the Biblical times when veal was used as a sacrificial offering. Times have changed and veal is no longer raised in restrictive crates or pens. In contrast, veal is now being raised in free-roaming barns or pastures.
Veal is a more flavorful and healthier meat as they have better lives than cows. Veal meat can be thinly sliced and served as carpaccio or simmered and braised to make osso-bucco.
Veal meat should always be refrigerated or frozen. Refrigerate cuts of fresh veal can last for 3-4 days while ground veal can only last for 1-2 days. Veal can be wrapped in aluminum foil and squeezed to eliminate the air. Remember to thaw veal portions that would be enough to serve and be consumed in a day. Freezing and thawing repeatedly could contaminate the meat, resulting to faster spoilage.
Depending on the cut, veal should be cooked thoroughly to avoid food poisoning. Remember that any type of meat may contain harmful bacteria or pathogens that could affect the consumers’ health. Using a meat thermometer helps to monitor both the internal and cooking temperature and prevents undercooking or overcooking the meat.
Thermometers should be inserted in the thickest and toughest parts to ensure that all areas are cooked. Never insert the thermometers in the thinnest and softest areas as these cook quickly than the other parts.
Several vitamins and nutrients make veal a nourishing meat.
Vitamin B6 and B12: Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) and B12 are effective in combatting depression and stabilize mood, improving brain improvement and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and it aids in the production of red blood cells, thereby combatting anemia.
Choline: Choline is essential for brain development as it improves memory and cognition. It’s also beneficial to women as it prevents pregnancy complications.
Selenium: Selenium is a powerful antioxidant. It boosts the immune system by preventing asthma. It also prevents mental decline and is an essential component of healthy thyroids.
Zinc: Zinc keeps the immune system strong and healthy. It speeds up the healing process of wounds, burns, and other skin injuries by aiding in collagen formation.
Riboflavin: Riboflavin is essential for the body’s over-all condition. It prevents cancers, migraines, dementia, and cardiovascular diseases.