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Poultry

Tuesday, 16 February 2010 | Tags:

If you think chicken or turkey when you hear the word poultry, you may be missing out on a variety of delectable dishes. Here is what we've learned about uncommon poultry during our research for Anna & Kristina's Grocery Bag.

Squab (Pigeon Breast)

  • Squab is a young, domesticated pigeon around 1 lb and 4 weeks old. Because it has has never flown, the meat is extremely tender.

  • Comparable to chicken in terms of protein (about 18.5 g per 100 g raw serving), squab is actually higher in fat (23.8 g for squab versus 15 g of fat for chicken).

  • One squab breast is about 1/4 the size of but roughly 50% more expensive than a whole organic chicken breast.

  • In Canada, fresh squab is farmed and available throughout the summer months to coincide with their natural hatching cycle.

  • Frozen squab is usually available year-round in specialty meat shops.

  • Whether fresh or frozen, squab usually comes whole and packaged.

  • It is considered a game bird so doesn’t fall under the same grading standard as other poultry in Canada. Because of this, it is very important to purchase squab from a butcher you trust.

  • Buy the youngest bird you can find, no more than 4 weeks old, no more than 1 lb.

  • Mature birds are less tender and are better suited for stewing or use in soups, casseroles, salads, or sandwiches.

  • Choose fresh birds by their plump, firm appearance.

  • Look for light grey meat and whitish skin.

  • Like all game birds, don’t choose any with yellowing skin, purple spots, or odd discolorations. This probably means it was either banged around during shipping, or improperly fed or harvested.

  • When in doubt, follow the same guidelines as purchasing chicken.

Pheasant

  • Like squab, pheasant is considered a game bird and therefore isn’t regulated by the same standards as other poultry in Canada. This makes it important to purchase from a reputable butcher who can tell you from where the bird originated.

  • A 100 gram serving of raw pheasant is higher in protein and lower in fat than a similar size piece of chicken (22.7 g of protein and 9.3 g of fat for pheasant; 18.6 g of protein and 15 g of fat for chicken).

  • A breast of pheasant is roughly the same size as an organic chicken breast but costs a little more than double the price.

  • In Canada, fresh pheasant is farmed and available throughout the summer months to coincide with their natural hatching cycle.

  • Frozen pheasant is usually available year-round in specialty shops where it comes whole, cleaned, and packaged.

  • When buying pheasant, follow the same guidelines as buying chicken – the meat should be white, not yellowed, and it should not smell off or be overly moist.

 

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