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SJMarketAug2017

Rabbit

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Preview of Rabbit

Available

January 1 - December 31

Harvest Period

N/A - N/A

Rabbit was considered a treat amongst native peoples a change from the steady diet of red meat from larger wild mammals. Rabbits were relatively easy to catch in all seasons and provided a steady source of fresh meat. While not as popular in modern Ontario kitchens, it is appears regularly on dinner tables in Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, and Cyprus. Malta and Crete compete for highest rabbit consumption per head of population.

Selecting 

Rabbit products are generally labeled in three ways, the first being Fryer. This is a young rabbit between 1 and 3 pounds and up to 12 weeks in age. This type of meat is tender and fine grained. The next product is a Roaster; they are usually over 4 pounds and up to 8 months in age. The flesh is firm and coarse grained and less tender than a fryer. Then there are giblets which include the liver and heart.

Select rabbits by size - they should be large enough to yield a decent amount of meat, but not too large. Younger, smaller animals will be more tender and better suited to quick cook methods such as roasting or barbecuing. Larger, older rabbits will have more flavour but may be less tender and so better suited to slower cooking.

Nutritional Information

Rabbit meat is a good source of high quality protein and is 98% fat free, making it a good choice for low calorie diets. Rabbit is the only meat that can be fully broken down by the human body and processed into energy. It is sweet and similar to chicken in taste (but with a nutty aftertaste that is unique to this animal), which makes it extremely versatile in the kitchen. Furthermore, rabbit is commonly raised without the use of hormones or steroids.

100g of cooked rabbit provides 165 calories, 7g fat, 0g carbohydrates, and 26g protein.

How To Use

Rabbit meat has a fine texture and a mild flavour. It can be stewed, pan-fried or roasted. Due to its low fat content, rabbit benefits by immersion in a marinade, topping with oil or wrapping in bacon. When grilling, baste frequently and cook to medium.

As a side note, Welsh Rabbit, a traditional dish in Wales, contains no rabbit whatsoever.  Instead, cheese is substituted for the more expensive rabbit meat in this delicious dish featuring bread, cheese and beer.

Breeds

New Zealand White is the most popular breed, followed by Californian. Some attempts have been made to capitalize on the large body size of Flemish Giant, however, this breed generally has low reproduction performance.