It used to be that when times were hard, you could find at least one home in each neighbourhood with a rabbit hutch in the back yard. We’re not seeing those rabbit hutches this time ‘round and that’s a shame. A good source of lean protein, rabbits can be raised in a very small space, and for very little money. Because they breed like…well…like rabbits, they can provide a good quantity of healthy protein to feed a hungry family.
One rabbit buck and three does will provide about ninety-six fryers each year. If butchered at weaning age, each fryer will average about four and a half pounds, with one hundred thirty three grams of protein per pound. That’s only slightly less protein than is found in roast sirloin, and rabbit is much less expensive and much more environmentally friendly to produce.
Rabbit is easy to cook. Like poultry, it should be cooked through; never served rare. It’s very lean so it works well in braised dishes or stews. It can be fried like chicken if marinated or brined for a few hours prior to cooking. Rabbit pie is also very tasty. Rabbit meat is so lean that if you are planning to use rabbit as ground meat or in sausage, you’ll need to add some fat. I find that one part ground bacon to three parts ground rabbit works quite well.
Despite the ease and affordability of raising rabbits, rabbit meat is hard to come by. I’m on the search for a butcher or a farmer who will sell me some, but have yet to find one. If you know someone on southern Vancouver Island who’s selling rabbit meat, please let me know.