Venison is the generic term for meat from deer. There are six species of deer in this country, all producing venison with their own distinctive tastes.
Venison season traditionally runs from October to December. The word ‘venison’ is derived from the Latin word ‘venari’ meaning to hunt or pursue. It originally meant the meat of any game animal before it became more widely accepted as the meat of a deer (or an antelope in South Africa!).
But it can be used in reference to any part of the animal – if it can be consumed then it’s venison – and yes, that includes the internal organs!
Venison is an incredibly versatile meat. You can enjoy it as a steak, tenderloin, roast, sausage, jerky and minced meat. Maybe that’s why it’s often mistaken for beef, another adaptable meat.
If you’re trying to compare the two, remember that venison is richer than beef. Cuts of venison also tend to have a finer texture and are normally a lot leaner than the corresponding cuts of beef. The leanness of venison is one of the reasons why it’s widely considered by modern nutritionists to be incredibly healthy.
The health factor also comes from the life of the deer itself since they’re inherently wild animals and sustain themselves on grass and wild plants – so have some venison today and enjoy the health benefits!
Did you know you can enjoy the organ meats from deer? These days we call them ‘offal’, but they were traditionally called umbles (taken from the Middle English ‘noumbles’).
It is this term that supposedly formed the origins of the phrase ‘humble pie,’ meaning a pie made from the organs of the deer.
If venison is tempting you this season, try out a couple of these recipes: Moroccan style Squash and Venison Tagine, Venison, Stilton and Rosemary pasties, Venison and Rhubarb Chutney, Venison Steak with Stroganoff Sauce and Shoestring Fries