Processing Rabbits

 

****This post talks about butchering rabbits. There are no pictures and no specific details, but the subject matter could be hard for some people to handle. Please proceed with caution.****

 

 

We had 6 kits that were born on 2/27. Four of them were males, and two of them were females. One of the males and one of the females went to a new home. The other four went into our fridge today.

It was a hard decision to raise rabbits for meat, and I’ve been worried about it. I was afraid that I wasn’t strong enough to handle processing day. It went surprisingly easy. The hardest part was getting over the mental hurdle I had about the process. I was a vegetarian for  seven years, and I just started eating meat again last year.

It’s easy to forget where meat comes from when you buy prepackaged meat from the grocery store or farmer’s market. It’s eye opening when you are involved in the raising and butchering of your own meat. I think that anyone who eats meat should have this experience at least once.

Our rabbits had a great life with us – filled with love, healthy food, green grass, fresh water, and lots of petting. I knew each of them from birth, I know what they ate. I know how well they were cared for, and I know that I was able to hold them and thank them for their lives in their last moments.

I thought I would be grossed out, but it wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it was going to be. They were stunned and dead before they knew what happened. The butchering process was a little bloody, but it was more interesting than gruesome. Their innards looked nice and healthy. We saved as much as possible from each rabbit and everything else that was edible went to our neighbor’s dog. The furs are in my freezer, waiting for me to tan them.

It took DH about an hour to process the first rabbit. Then, he passed the meat off to me, I rinsed it off, and put it in ice water for a few minutes to cool it down. Afterwards, I put it in a ziplock, got as much air out as I could, and put it in the fridge to rest. The second one took about 30 minutes. The last two took about 15 minutes each, from start to finish.

The meat is supposed to “rest” in the fridge for 3 days or so, until rigor mortis passes. Then, I’ll cook with one and freeze the other three for later.

I’m grateful that I can give my family healthy, fresh food that was raised humanely and that died humanely.

The whole experience was humbling. I have a newfound respect for food and a newfound respect for life.

 

 

 

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