Do you think the difference between rabbits and hares is exclusively in their habitat? Not only. Outwardly, they may be similar, but when it comes to cooking the meat of these animals, taste and nutritional characteristics, the differences cannot be overlooked.
What is the difference between rabbit meat and rabbit
Hares are common on all continents except Antarctica. There are many varieties of these animals in the world, but only two of them are found in our latitudes: grouses and smaller whites. Adult grouse weighs within 5 kilograms, while squirrels rarely reach this indicator, more often their growth stops at 3-4 kg. Hares belong to settled animals, which rarely leave their native places. Only in case of danger can they run away 2 km from the house, but then return. Their diet, as a rule, consists of tree bark, grass, roots and root crops. By the way, because of the passion to nibble the bark from the trees, these animals fell out of favor with gardeners. They hunt hares, as a rule, in the fall. Gourmets say that it was at this time that their meat was the most delicious and healthy.
Interestingly, the hare on the tables of our ancestors appeared not so long ago - around the 19th century. And earlier, for several centuries in Russia, hare was considered a "unclean" product and was not eaten. But in the XIX century, the meat of this game became the main thing on the holiday tables. But in the Finno-Ugric and some other nationalities, hare has been held in high esteem in all ages. Cubans also love this product, which, by the way, consider hare to be their national product.
Today, hares are one of the most popular varieties of small game. Unlike rabbit meat, roe meat is a little tougher, more aromatic and less fat. The appearance of the fillet is also different: it is darker in hares, and the carcass of the game is noticeably larger than that of its domesticated relative. It is not difficult to recognize the hare and to taste - its meat is a little sweetish.
Chemical composition and nutritional characteristics
Like other types of meat, hare is an excellent source of protein. In addition, the protein contained in this product is very easily absorbed by the human body. And this is one of the key reasons why rabbit meat belongs to dietary food. The fillet of this game contains 19 amino acids, including essential for humans, which makes the product especially useful. But it is worth saying that the amount of protein in the hare can vary: the older the animal, the less protein and more fat in its meat. The carcass of a young animal contains an average of 13.5 g of protein and almost 13 g of fat.
We must not forget about the extremely rich vitamin and mineral profile of this type of meat. Zaychatina is rich in iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, fluorine and cobalt, but contains a very small amount of sodium. The vitamins found in hare are mainly ascorbic acid and substances of group B. For example, the product contains vitamin B6 in an amount sufficient to have a beneficial effect on the central nervous system, bone tissue and muscles. Thanks to this vitamin, hare can prevent cramps and cramps.
Hare meat belongs to the group of low-calorie foods. Judge for yourself if in 100 g of pork there is almost 400 kcal, a little more than 300 kcal in the same amount of mutton, then in the hare fillet there is no more than 125 kcal. And by the way, his domesticated bunny relative, although not by much, also contains more calories: about 180 kcal for every 100 g of meat. Biologists explain this difference by the fact that wild hares live in a state of constant stress and movement, as a result of which the fat in their carcasses quickly turns into energy, thereby reducing the calorie content of meat.
Who benefits from hare
Zaychatina is not only tasty, but also a healthy, easily digestible dietary product. The meat of this game is known for its hypoallergenic properties, which allows nutritionists to recommend this product to people prone to food allergies. And due to its high nutritional value, this kind of meat is useful for elderly people, children, pregnant and lactating mothers. By the way, some pediatricians advise including rabbit in lure for babies.
Zaychatina, like other meat, is useful as an energy source for people whose lifestyle requires large physical or mental costs. As a source of valuable protein, this product is well included in the diet of professional bodybuilders and amateur athletes.
Dietary hare is allowed for people with diseases of the stomach, intestines, liver, or gall bladder. Being almost completely devoid of sodium, rabbit is useful for people with hypertension and some other diseases of the cardiovascular system. For the cardiac system, this product is also suitable because it does not contain cholesterol and does not cause an increase in its blood parameters, thus we can talk about hare as a product useful for the prevention of atherosclerosis.
It is good to at least occasionally eat dishes from this game for people with weakened bones and lack of phosphorus. Useful fillet of hares for vision, improve skin condition and restore mucous membranes in the body. It is good to include hare meat in the diet of persons with malignant tumors or to prevent the occurrence of such.
What is the benefit of hare meat
The researchers found that in the first 7 months of life, the hare’s body is not able to accumulate strontium-90, which is the decay product of pesticides and herbicides. And this fact is one of the reasons why nutritionists recommend taking only carcasses of young animals (up to 1 year) for cooking.
This product is also useful because it is a rich source of vitamin B12, which the human body needs to synthesize DNA and melatonin (the so-called sleep hormone). In addition, if you regularly eat wild hare meat, you don’t have to worry about insufficient oxygenation of brain cells, and with it the possible occurrence of hypoxia.
In the list of benefits, hare is called the ability to maintain blood sugar levels at a healthy level (due to the presence of chromium). This feature makes the product extremely useful for those suffering from diabetes. And for people with anemia or low hemoglobin, vitamin B12-rich rabbit is useful as a natural remedy.
Hare fillet is a good source of the amino acid lysine. Due to this, meat is useful for respiratory diseases, since lysine gives the product antiviral properties. Thanks to the same amino acid, hare is also beneficial for people affected by the herpes virus.
Many argue that meat is not the best choice for dinner. But if it’s a hare, then you don’t have to worry. On the contrary, a portion of dietary meat helps calm in the evening and improves sleep. And the whole secret is that the product contains tryptophan - an amino acid that causes the production of sleep hormone melatonin.
Zaychatina is useful for maintaining proper fat metabolism, which makes it an excellent choice for losing weight and keeping fit. In addition, we should not forget that this is one of the lowest calorie types of meat.
How to choose and cook
As already mentioned, the younger the animal, the tastier and healthier the meat. The approximate age of the hare can be determined by the ulnar bone: in young animals, a tubercle is clearly felt on it, in older animals it is not. In addition, young hares can be identified by the fragile bones of the front legs, thick knees, wide neck and soft ears. The carcasses of old individuals are thin and long.
Zaychatina is great for preparing different dishes. But, like any other game, it has a specific smell, which actually scares off some cooks. However, there are several ways to get rid of an undesirable aroma. For example, before cooking, the carcass can be left for 10-12 hours in water acidified with lemon juice (some recommend vinegar, but this is a bad idea: vinegar “burns” the hare), or in whey. Also, to get rid of the smell in the cooking process, it is useful to add several berries of juniper. It is important for novice cooks to know that the taste and nutritional value of hare is significantly affected by the way the carcass is stored. In air and light, the meat quickly darkens, and after defrosting the fillet almost completely loses moisture.
Before cooking, the carcass of the hare is divided into parts - front and back. In this case, the carcass should be cut exactly along the line of the last lumbar vertebra. They do this because the meat in both parts of the rabbit is different and it must be prepared in different ways. The back, for example, is a more tender meat that cooks pretty quickly. Fillets from this part are used for frying, cutlets, kebabs, schnitzels and rolls are prepared from it. The meat of the front of the hare is more rigid and requires more thorough heat treatment. As a rule, this half is stewed in sour cream.
It is good to stew carcasses of this game, shpigat and bake, cook with sauces and make them roast. Also, hare is great for making broths and soups. Gourmets like to combine hare with cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and as a drink for meat they serve young wine. The taste of the finished dish favorably emphasize dill, rosemary, sage. Before baking or roasting, you can grate the meat with a mixture of coarse salt and herbs.
What is the use of rabbit fat
In addition to meat, rabbit fat is also beneficial for humans. This product has been used in folk medicine for centuries. In particular, this fatty substance is useful to apply to wounds in order to accelerate their healing. With bronchitis, it is useful to take medicine based on rabbit fat, as well as rub it. In addition, traditional healers advised to apply the hare fat on the skin with frostbite.
This product also helps with otitis media - just drop a few drops of warm animal fat into a sore ear.
Many manufacturers of cosmetics willingly include rabbit fat in their products (in addition, it is a hypoallergenic ingredient). In combination with other bioactive substances, it is useful for smoothing, moisturizing, tightening the skin, improving its color. Masks containing hare fat are good for flaky, weathered or irritated skin. This product is useful to apply on chapped or coarse skin areas. In winter, fat will help prevent chapping and frostbite. And rabbit fat masks are useful for dry, damaged hair.
Rabbit hair in folk medicine
In folk medicine, not only the meat or fat of hares was used. Our ancestors found clever application and wool of this animal. For example, it was believed that the hare's coat was useful:
- to stop nosebleeds (a piece of wool was applied to the nose);
- with insomnia (it is useful to sleep on a pillow of wool);
- for the treatment of phlegmonous inflammation (the so-called false erysipelas);
- with abscesses and inflammation (applied to a sore spot);
- when coughing (put on the patient’s chest with the inside, previously lubricating the skin with sour cream);
- with mastitis (applied mezdra to a sore chest).
Possible harm to the hare
Zaychatina has many advantages, but nutritionists are not advised to get too carried away with the product, especially prone to arthritis or gout. Experts explain this by the presence of purine substances in the meat, which contribute to the deposition of salts and the formation of stones in the body. Also, purines in large quantities are dangerous to the kidneys, cause deposition of uric acid in the joints (and this leads to the development of gout). Also, hare is prohibited for people with individual intolerance to the product.
For many, hunting for a hare is just fun. But an eared carcass is not just a useless hunting trophy, but actually a very valuable and tasty prey. And if the hare is cooked correctly, then it can become the "highlight" of the most exquisite festive table. No wonder our ancestors could not imagine a feast without a hare.