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Delectable dishes from the countryside

There are around 5,000 full-time gamekeepers employed in the UK, with many more keepers working part time, managing around six million hectares – a land area roughly equivalent in size to Scotland.

Their day-to-day duties, both in the uplands and the lowlands of the UK, involve the skilled management of both reared and wild game, while, at the same time, nurturing the flora and fauna that share these carefully conserved habitats.

Gamekeeping means a win win for wildlife, because what is good for game birds and deer also benefits a vast array of other species, from songbirds to butterflies. It should be no surprise to learn then that keepered land is usually especially rich in wildlife, which is precisely why TV wildlife programmes are often filmed where gamekeepers work.

Game is also food, and the job of the gamekeeper is central to overseeing this natural and delicious harvest of free-range meat. Game, both furred and feathered, takes many forms. And one of the most versatile – and popular – game meats available to the consumer is venison, much of it entering the food chain as a direct result of the recognised need for gamekeepers to control deer in order to limit crop damage, promote woodland regeneration, protect vulnerable habitats, maintain biodiversity and prevent road traffic accidents.

As well as venison, the UK countryside is home to a wide variety of other game, such as:

· Pheasant

· Partridge

· Grouse

· Rabbit

· Pigeon

· Hare

· Duck

Not only is game free range and full of flavour, but it is also an extremely healthy meat. It is high in protein and lean, being low in fat compared with many other sources of red meat. What’s more, game is also rich in iron, and packed with vitamins and health-enhancing nutrients.

Game is widely sold nowadays in supermarkets, butchers, farmshops and farmers’ markets, plus it is quick and easy cook at home. To find out more about this magical, free-range ingredient visit the Taste of Game website for recipes, many by celebrity chefs, as well as lots of other information to tempt your taste buds.

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Posted: 05 Sep 2017

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