Reindeer Meat: A Delicacy of Myth and Mirth

Reindeer Meat: A Delicacy of Myth and Mirth

The author Shelly Thacker writes- “At least reindeer kisses do not cause me to take leave of my senses,” but mayhaps its meat might. Reindeer is one of the best red meat choices for the health-conscious consumer.

One often hears about reindeer meat, but hardly is one prepared for the vertiginous variety. You can find it in markets and restaurants, as well as places you might not have ever known existed. From smoked reindeer, reindeer tartare, grilled reindeer, and reindeer pizza. That last one, well. Over the years, reindeer have come to be synonymous with the Christmas season, made famous by the eight reindeers that whoosh Santa Claus delivering coveted gifts for all and sundry, well at least if you have been on Santa’s “good” list.

Reindeer have been tied to Christmas ever since Clement C. Moore published his well-known poem, "A Visit from Saint Nicholas," in 1823, but despite Dunder’s and Blixem's yearly house visits, finding these fluffy beasts can be difficult. That's because reindeer are typically found in the very north of Europe, North America, and Asia, countries renowned for their untamed terrain and bitterly cold winters.

The term "reindeer," which derives from the Old Norse "hreinin," meaning "horned animal," is used to describe these animals, who are known for their thick coats and massive antlers. Contrary to popular belief, reindeer and caribou are not two separate species. The Smithsonian National Zoo classifies reindeer and caribou as members of the same species, with geography and domesticated status determining the various names. For instance, the mammals are referred to as reindeer in Europe, whereas in North America, the term "caribou" is used to describe colonies of wild, non-domesticated animals.

Another widespread misunderstanding is that reindeer antlers are only found in males. The females exclusively do this in the reindeer species of deer. Each year, both sexes develop a fresh set, with males losing their horns in the first few days of December and females doing so in the latter part of winter or the beginning of spring. Because of this, many zoologists believe that the herd pulling Santa's sleigh is entirely made up of females.

Since reindeer are circumpolar animals, they can be found in all nations that border the arctic circle, but there are specific places where you have a higher chance of spotting Santa’s Reindeer-8.

What’s in the Meat?

Reindeer meat includes 1.6 to 3.5 micrograms of vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B1, and vitamin B2 per 100g. A typical adult needs 6 micrograms each day. For a healthier heart and good cholesterol, reindeer meat also contains significant levels of selenium, zinc, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Without any antibiotics, reindeer graze freely in the arctic woodlands on more than 300 different plants and lichens. This diet is abundant in nutrients and antioxidants. In addition to improving the reindeer's outstanding health, the rich diet results in meat that is mild, lean, moist, and flavourful.

A 100g serving of reindeer meat has 20–24g of protein. DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) estimates that a typical inactive guy requires 56g of protein per day, compared to a woman's need of roughly 46g. Due to the absence of carbohydrates, reindeer meat is a good choice for a low-carb diet.

It is low in fat and good for you. Compared to other red meat, reindeer meat has just 2-4% fat per 100g and is higher in unsaturated fatty acids. Unsaturated oleic acids, which are found in up to 50–60% of the flesh of reindeer, lower dangerous cholesterol. Reindeer meat is a delicious and healthy natural cuisine.

Reindeer Husbandry

Reindeer have a metabolism that is adapted to thrive in barren settings and can survive on natural pastures without the need for productive land.

In the vast, open arctic woodlands, reindeer herding is a common kind of land use. Since it is nearly hard to grow crops, reindeer provide sustenance for the land that would be wasteful or inefficient to produce otherwise.

Only a certain number of reindeer are permitted to live in each of the Arctic forests, which are divided up by area. The distribution preserves the ecosystem's diversity and balance while preventing negative environmental effects.

The governments of the Nordic nations annually approve the surplus of reindeer for eating.

  • The Arctic Forest, one of the world's cleanest locations with the purest water and air, is home to reindeer.
  • The Sami people as well as many families in the Arctic regions make their living through reindeer farming.
  • The Arctic region's ecology, economy, and culture are all intertwined with reindeer farming.
  • The Sami people, who are primarily indigenous, own reindeer, the only semi-domesticated mammal that lives in the wild.

One thing you should keep in mind is that the meat from reindeer should be served as raw as possible. Because it's so gamy and red, if you cook it too much, it will taste like liver.

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