One of the best parts about going out to dinner is trying food you would normally never make at home. It could be that, while you’re looking at the menu, you’ll notice a type of meat not normally available in the average supermarket. Duck is a type of meat that comes from mallards or other breeds of duck; it can also come from freshwater or saltwater sources. Here are some nutrition facts and health benefits of duck.
Sources of Duck Meat
Duck meat is a form of poultry that comes, obviously, from mallards or other duck species. It’s classified as a white meat, but it’s actually much darker than chicken and turkey meat. When cooked properly, it will have a reddish appearance similar to that of beef. Most of the meat from the duck comes from the breast or legs. Popular cuts of meat from duck also include the neck, back, wing, and tail sections. Other times, the duck is sold whole for the buyer who wants to prepare their own cuts.
Two breeds of duck are common sources of duck meat. There are other sources in different regions of the world, but these two represent the most common breeds that are butchered for duck meat.
The first breed, the Pekin duck, is the most common source of meat from ducks. This breed is visually desirable because its white feathers hide any fluff left on the skin. Also referred to by the nickname “Long Island Duck,” this species came to the United States from China. It represents the majority of duck meat produced in America.
The next most common type of duck meat comes from Muscovy ducks. This meat has a unique taste that many people describe as meaty and flavorful. Unlike the more popular Pekin, the Muscovy duck does not descend from mallards.
One of the biggest advantages of eating duck is all the nutrients that come from the meat. Duck has proven to be an excellent source of iron, which is essential in the production of hemoglobin, a base part of red blood cells. Iron is also important for producing energy in growing children.
Many proteins that play important roles in keeping your body running are also found in duck meat. These proteins can repair damaged skin and keep your body moving. Proteins are also essential for keeping your body healthy by aiding its natural immunity.
The biggest nutrient found in duck meat is vitamin B. Duck meat is a great source of a number of vitamin B compounds, especially B-12. Vitamin B-12, like iron, is crucial to the formation of red blood cells. It also boosts the body’s release of energy by absorbing folic acid.
Finally, duck meat is a source of glycine. Glycine is an amino acid found in abundance in duck meat. It’s an important part of skin health, and some studies have suggested it can help in the healing of wounds. Multiple sleep studies have also shown a positive relationship between sleep quality and glycine.
The biggest knock many people have against duck meat is the elevated fat content. Indeed, duck has been found to have particularly high levels of saturated fat, especially in comparison to other poultry dishes. But this is only true if you leave the skin on the bird while cooking the meat. If you remove the skin before cooking it, duck actually has about the same fat content as meat from other birds.
Duck meat is also very high in cholesterol. A single three-ounce serving of duck meat has a high enough cholesterol content to account for 25% of the daily recommended amount for adults. Because of these concerns, many nutritionists often recommend treating duck as a dish for special occasions and not as a full-time substitute for other healthier meats.
When you’re preparing a meal made with duck meat, it’s important to be sure the meat is cooked all the way through before consuming it, just as with other meat that comes from birds.
Many popular dishes throughout the world make use of duck meat. Here are a few of the most well-known selections.
Originally found in China during the Ming Dynasty, Peking duck is a specialty dish renowned the world over. The meal was originally prepared for emperors, but it was soon shared with the rest of the nation. There’s even a restaurant that has been in operation since 1416 that specializes in Peking duck. This meal is known for the thin, crispy skin, and it has been a favorite of diplomats and world leaders for many generations.
Another popular meal made with duck meat is foie gras. This specialty dish is made from the liver of the duck. Sometimes referred to as buttery and delicate, foie gras is known for being incredibly flavorful. The vast majority of the meat for this dish is produced in France, where the meal is considered part of the gastronomical heritage of the nation.
The final duck product to consider is one that many people may not initially think of. Duck fat also comes with many nutrition facts and health benefits. To produce duck fat, you simply have to collect the fat that renders while you’re cooking the meat. Some dishes made from duck meat even require you to marinate the meat in duck fat to achieve the proper taste and color. Though there are disagreements about the specific health benefits of using duck fat in your cooking, some nutritionists believe it can help reduce “bad” cholesterol, increase energy levels, and lower blood glucose levels.
There are many places to find the duck meat that will make your next meal special. At Vincent’s Meat Market, in the heart of real Little Italy in the Bronx, we have all the meats you need to make your meal a success. Along with fresh duck, we also offer a huge selection of the best cuts of meat in all of New York City, including beef, chicken, pork, and turkey meats. Stop by our shop or visit our website for more purchasing options.