Pigeon is a local bird that we often see eating from trash cans and even from our vomit. They are also fed plenty of home food and leftovers by many, as feeding them is considered lucky. They can be deemed as waste scavengers just like pigs? The question now is, “Can you eat pigeons?” If we can eat chickens, pigs, then why not pigeons? Here, we would explore and find the answer to various queries about eating pigeon meat. Read on!
Can you eat pigeons?
‘Yes, you can eat pigeons.’
It is interesting to note that pigeon meat has been eaten for ages. Just about two to two and a half-decade ago, pigeon meat was considered as fine dining. Its meat, especially of young pigeon, is called squab and is a renowned delicacy.
But it slowly faded, and chicken started replacing them on the culinary platter. The reason for it is that it is far more expensive and time-consuming to get pigeon meat as compared to chicken. Simultaneously, it might be noted that you must eat only carefully bred farm pigeons and not the city pigeons.
Why should you not eat city pigeons?
Do you know pigeons are called ‘flying rats?’ The reason for it is simple. They tend to eat all the waste that we leave behind. Moreover, as feeding pigeons is touted to bring good luck, many people feed them the leftover food, bread, etc.
Since they are not eating their regular diet; they are more prone to be diseased, and may have harmful bio-organisms like bacteria. E. coli and may have a higher percentage of rodenticide, battery acid, and lead in their meat. All these can cause health hazards in humans.
In contrast, farm-bred pigeons are given a grain-based diet, which is their natural diet, and thus, they are safer and healthier to consume.
However, it might be pointed out that pigeon meat is just like any other meat. If you clean the meat of the city pigeon well and cook it properly to kill all bacteria and other hazardous elements, they might be safe to consume.
What does pigeon meat taste like?
Those who eat pigeon meat describe its taste as exceedingly juicy and delicious. Its meat is much darker than chicken, and its taste might remind you of an elk steak instead of any other poultry. More so, the taste of young pigeon meat, preferably less than four weeks old, is tastier and juicier.
Young pigeon meat is referred to as squab and has been a delicacy for ages. They are tastier and far richer in nutrients compared to adult pigeons. Squab meat has a silkier texture and is far easier to digest than the meat of adult pigeons.
Pigeons that have been raised for their meat are far tastier than the city pigeons as they are fed their natural food. They are excellent poultry meat on the same bar as that of chicken or turkey.
Are pigeons safe to eat? What is its health benefit?
Pigeon’s meat has the same risks attached as any other meat. They are completely safe to eat as long as they are cleaned properly and cooked thoroughly with the right blend of spices. Similarly, you must be cautious about not eating diseased pigeon meat, as that would be hazardous to your health.
Looking at the health benefits, pigeon meat is considered healthy as it falls under the bracket of lean meat. It is highly nutritious and great from a health perspective. A few important health benefits of eating pigeon meat are:
- Rich source of protein
Pigeon meat is extremely high in protein. It is believed that the protein content in pigeon meat is 17.5g/100gr, which is quite close to that of cow, 18.8g/100gr. Studies indicate that consuming pigeon meat can promote healthy growth, improve the functionality of the immunity system and even enhance enzyme production.
- A high content of essential minerals
Our body needs a wide variety of minerals, albeit in small quantities, to remain healthy. Pigeon meat is super rich in minerals like iron, zinc, selenium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, manganese, magnesium, and copper.
- Rich source of vitamins
Pigeon meat is also a good source of many vitamins like thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin A&C, cobalamin, folate, and pyridoxine.
Hence, eating pigeon meat can actually help you stay healthy because of its high nutritious quotient.
The trend of eating pigeon meat disappeared about two decades back, but it is fast coming into vogue. Given its rich flavor and high health benefits, it is a must-try for any meat-lover.