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Food of the month - Duck

October 2015

With Halloween approching, pumpkins are the obvious choice of food of the month for October. But we covered pumpkins extensively last year, this month we are looking instead at another food that is coming into season and into the shops - duck.

Duck has been a popular food worldwide for generations. Most people have heard of Aylesbury duck - a large duck with white plumage that became very popular in the 19th century. The other breed of duck that people have heard of is Pekin duck; this was introduced to the UK in 1873 because although its meat had a poorer flavour than Aylesbury duck, this breed was hardier and cheaper to raise so farmers loved it.

Today while both breeds of duck are still popular, there are also many other breeds of ducks used in cuisine such as the Gressingham duck which is a unique breed derived from when the small, flavourful wild mallard was crossed with the larger Pekin duck to produce a succulent flavourful meat with less fat.

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It is the gamey unique flavour of ducks that make them popular both as meat for special occasions and also for everyday eating.

While duck is thought to be slightly higher in saturated fat than other poultry such as chicken and turkey it contains around the same levels of cholesterol as chicken. Duck contains good levels of omega 3 fats plus vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin D, vitamin E and selenium, together with some iron, zinc and copper.

Duck also packs a punch with its protein content - over 25g for every 100 gram of duck.

While duck clearly contains good nutrition and tastes great, one aspect to watch is the skin. 100g of duck breast without skin for instance, contains around 140 calories - less than the equivalent weight of chicken (165 calories) and beef (209 calories). But start eating duck with skin, then for the same weight of meat, the number of calories rises to over 200.

If you are going to cook a duck, it is worth remembering a lot of the fat is found directly under the skin. It can be useful to score the skin all over when cooking so that the fat escapes and drains away. Roasting duck at a slightly lower temperature can be a good tip to ensure all the fat has time to melt and drip away, although you can then always turn the temperature up to finally crisp and brown off the duck. AS with all poultry, make sure the meat is properly cooked before serving.

There are lots of exciting and easy recipes available on the website such as http://www.gressinghamduck.co.uk/recipes

If duck hasn't been a normal item on your menu, maybe this is the month to try this unique flavoured meat .

 


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