IPN students and their rabbit ham. IPN students and their rabbit ham.

Students produce ham from rabbit meat

High-protein, low-fat alternative developed by National Polytechnic Institute students

A team of students at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) has developed a high-protein, low-fat variety of ham that helps keep the digestive tract healthy. It’s main ingredient? Rabbit meat.

The five students say the protein content of their rabbit ham is higher than that of pork, chicken or beef, and its fat and carbohydrate concentrations are almost non-existent.

As opposed to commercial ham brands, the students say their product contains 100% meat; no additives were used to increase its volume.

An additive the rabbit ham does have is inulin, a water-soluble fiber naturally produced by several plants that is good for the digestive system.

The ham has no preservatives but the smoking process allows the product to last for up to three weeks in the refrigerator.

Team member Erick Vargas García explained that the protein content of rabbit meat “is 21 or 22 grams for every 100 grams of edible meat . . . also, its nearly null fat content make it suitable for the diets of infants, seniors and people with medical conditions.”

One factor that complicates the process of making ham from rabbit is the large quantity of tendons and connective tissue that have to be meticulously removed.

According to official data, Mexico’s national production of rabbit meat is of 13,000 tonnes a year, far less than the 1.2 million tonnes of pork, 1.8 million tonnes of beef and 2.8 million tonnes of fowl produced annually.

Vargas believes that the consumption of rabbit meat is low due to the “unfamiliarity with the meat’s benefit and the fact that rabbits are seen more as pets.”

Rabbit meat can only be purchased in specialty markets so the next step for the IPN team before upping their ham production is to set up a rabbit breeding center.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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