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Partridge

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Preview of Partridge

Available

January 1 - December 31

Harvest Period

N/A - N/A

Early hunter gatherers would have found terrestrial birds of the pheasant family, which also includes partridge, quail and grouse, to be a rather easy catch and a decent source of protein.  Later on, farming communities learned to domesticate some species and to supplement their diet with the nutritionally-rich eggs. Few birds have had such a long relationship with people as those of this bird family, but their own history is even older. Fossils show that an ancestor species dates back to the Eocene period (50 to 60 million years ago) when northern latitudes were tropical. 

Selecting and Storing

The hen is tastier and more tender than the cock, and can be recognized by spur-shaped button on its foot.  Younger birds will also be more tender.  If you are choosing your own bird, look for a soft lower beak, which indicates that the bird isnít too old. Fresh partridge should be stored in the coldest part of your fridge for up to 3 days.

Frozen, oven-ready birds are increasingly found in grocery stores.  Keep in the freezer for up to 6 months and thaw in the refrigerator when ready to use.

Nutritional Information

Partridge meat is very lean and dark, similar to pheasant but firmer and not as delicate. It is high in B vitamins and a good source of potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron.

100g of roasted partridge provides 150 calories, 4g fat, 0g carbohydrate, and 26g protein.

How To Use

Partridges are known for their heavy, muscular breasts and are rather plump. Farm-raised partridge meat has a texture similar to that of chicken. Wild partridge has a stronger, game meat flavour. It may be roasted, braised, or made into pies and pates, and pairs well with robustly flavoured ingredients.

One partridge will feed one person, so choose enough birds to accommodate the number of diners.

Breeds

While there are dozens of partridge types around the world, the two main partridges commonly found in Canada are the Chukar and Hungarian (or Gray). The Hungarian partridge has been highly valued as a game bird for centuries and it's feathers are often used to create fly fishing lures.  The Chukar on the other hand is more charismatic in appearance, with boldly coloured feathers that were once highly sought after for hat decorations.