Learn All About Veal
Veal is the name applied to the flesh of a slaughtered calf. This kind of meat is at its best in animals that are from 6 weeks to 3 months old when killed. Calves younger than 6 weeks are sometimes slaughtered, but their meat is of poor quality and should be avoided. Meat from a calf that has not reached the age of 3 weeks is called bob veal. Such meat is pale, dry, tough, and indigestible and, consequently, unfit for food. In most states the laws strictly forbid the sale of bob veal for food, but constant vigilance must be exercised to safeguard the public from unscrupulous dealers. A calf that goes beyond the age of 3 months without being slaughtered must be kept and fattened until it reaches the age at which it can be profitably sold as beef, for it is too old to be used as veal. The nature of veal can be more readily comprehended by comparing it with beef, the characteristics of which are now understood. Veal is lighter in color than beef, being more nearly pink than red, and it contains very little fat, as reference to Fig. 1, Meat, Part 1, will show. The tissues of veal contain less nutriment than those of beef, but they contain more gelatine. The flavor of veal is less pronounced than that of beef, the difference between the age of animals used for veal and those used for beef being responsible for this lack of flavor. These characteristics, as well as the difference in size of corresponding cuts, make it easy to distinguish veal from beef in the market. CUTS OF VEAL, AND THEIR USES The slaughtered calf from which veal is obtained is generally delivered to the butcher with the head, feet, and intestines removed and the carcass split into halves through the spine. He divides each half into quarters, known as the fore quarter and the hind quarter, and cuts these into smaller pieces. FORE QUARTER.--The fore quarter is composed of the neck, chuck, shoulder, fore shank, breast, and ribs. Frequently, no distinction is made between the neck and the chuck, both of these pieces and the fore shank being used for soups and stews. The shoulder is cut from the ribs lying underneath, and it is generally used for roasting, often with stuffing rolled inside of it. The breast, which is the under part of the fore quarter and corresponds to the plate in beef, is suitable for either roasting or stewing. When the rib bones are removed from it, a pocket that will hold stuffing can be cut into this piece. The ribs between the shoulder and the loin are called the rack; they may be cut into chops or used as one piece for roasting. HIND QUARTER.--The hind quarter is divided into the loin, flank, leg, and hind shank. The loin and the flank are located similarly to these same cuts in beef. In some localities, the part of veal corresponding to the rump of beef is included with the loin, and in others it is cut as part of the leg. When it is part of the leg, the leg is cut off just in front of the hip bone and is separated from the lower part of the leg, or hind shank, immediately below the hip joint. This piece is often used for roasting, although cutlets or steaks may be cut from it. The hind shank, which, together with the fore shank, is called a knuckle, is used for soup making. When the loin and flank are cut in a single piece, they are used for roasting. VEAL ORGANS.--Certain of the organs of the calf, like those of beef animals, are used for food. They include the heart, tongue, liver, and kidneys, as well as the thymus and thyroid glands and the pancreas. The heart and tongue of veal are more delicate in texture and flavor than those of beef, but the methods of cooking them are practically the same. The liver and kidneys of calves make very appetizing dishes and find favor with many persons. The thymus and thyroid glands and the pancreas are included under the term sweetbreads. The thymus gland, which lies near the heart and is often called the heart sweetbread, is the best one. The thyroid gland lies in the throat and is called the throat sweetbread. These two glands are joined by a connecting membrane, but this is often broken and each gland sold as a separate sweetbread. The pancreas, which is the stomach sweetbread, is used less often than the others. Read about tangerine trees and carrot seeds at the Fruits And Vegetables website.