The ostrich is the world's largest living bird. The ostrich is a flightless bird, but it can run up to speeds of 40 mph. It can sustain this speed for up to 30 minutes. The bird is indigenous to Africa and is not an endangered species.
The ostrich is the only bird that has two toes on each foot.
The Ostrich is now farmed around the world, particularly for its feathers, which are decorative and are also used for feather dusters. Its skin is used for leather and its meat marketed commercially.
An ostrich reaches its breeding maturity at about three years of age and can live to be about 70 years old.
They can weigh from 250 to 400 pounds and stand 6 to 8 feet tall. A hen can lay from 10 to 70 eggs each year. Each egg weighs about three to four pounds and is about 6 inches in diameter.
An ostrich will yield 70 to 100 pounds of meat, two to four pounds of feathers, and 12-15 square feet of leather.
Ostrich Meat is a red meat that is low in fat that can be used in any traditional red meat recipe to produce great tasting dishes.
Ostrich meat tastes similar to lean beef and is low in fat and cholesterol, as well as high in calcium, protein and iron. Uncooked, it is a dark red or cherry red color, a little darker than beef.
Almost all of the meat from an Ostrich comes from the leg, thigh, and back. An Ostrich has NO breast meat like the chicken and turkey.
Even though Ostrich meat tastes like beef, the Ostrich does not have fat marbling in the meat like beef. Ostriches have fat, but it collects outside the muscles and is easily removed during processing. Therefore, the cuts of meat are very lean.
Ostrich meat can be used as steak for frying, or any of your favourite dishes as a substitute for beef.
Because Ostrich meat has a very low fat content, it is best to cook over a high heat to seal the meat, then reduce heat and cook as a Beef Steak according to the cut.
The fillet is wonderful just cooked on its own to appreciate the full natural flavour. The great thing about fillet is that it can be cooked to your taste, and can even be eaten raw (as Carpaccio) so a little pink in the middle is ideal and will maximise your enjoyment of this product. Over cooking to very well done will ruin the steak and convert it to leather!
Ostrich Steaks are excellent with your favourite marinade, cranberry jelly or redcurrant sauce being particularly good.
Cooking times: Fry for approx. 3 to 4 minutes per side – check during cooking with a knife by cutting open slightly. If grilling under a gentle heat, cook for approx. 6 minutes each side and check with a knife as per above
Fry in a little light oil or grill under a low heat. Ensure the burger is cooked all the way through but try not to over cook, particularly if using a grill as they will ‘dry out’. The meat needs to be just brown.
Cooking times: Fry for approx. 6 - 8 minutes each side and check during cooking by slightly opening the burger with a knife or cook until the burger can be broken on one side with tongs.
The larger leg muscles are excellent for roasting as the weekend joint or even a mid-week treat, cold or hot! Pot roasting will contain the juices and prevent the meat from drying out.
Cooking times: Cook at a temperature approx. 150°C for 45 minutes per kg + 20 minutes. Reduce cooking temperature by approx. 20°C if using a fan-assisted oven. Check the product is cooked to your satisfaction as you would with any other joint.
Ostrich eggs are also used in much the same way as ordinary eggs, except they are somewhat larger. They are around 6 inches in diameter and 8 to 9 inches long. They weigh around 2kg and will take around two hours to hard boil – equivalent in volume to 2 doz hens eggs.
Meat yield from ostriches is about 25% of the total weight increasing to around 60% of the joint weight