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Q: What is an emu?
A: An emu is a "ratite" - a flightless bird. The ratite group also includes ostrich, cassowary, rhea and kiwi. The mature emu is five to six feet tall, weighing between 90 and 120 pounds. The curious birds are born with black and white striped feathers but are tan, brown, and black as adults.
Q: When do emus begin reproduction?
A: Emus begin laying eggs as early as 16-18 months of age, but laying normally begins at two to three years. Emus lay large green eggs between November and March. Emus can be productive for more than 20 years and can lay 20-50 eggs in a season.
Q: Why is the emu called the "most usable bird"?
A: Emus are most widely known for their unique oil and low-fat, iron-packed red meat, but their fine leather, (hide), unusual feathers, toenails and exquisite large green eggs are also marketable.
Q: Where does emu oil come from?
A: Emu oil comes from a thick pad of fat on the back of the bird that was initially provided by nature to protect the animal from the extreme temperatures of its Australian homeland.
Q: What are some uses for the oil?
A: Emu oil has diverse applications ranging from cosmetics, soaps, and shampoos to analgesics. Emu oil has been shown to display anti-inflammatory properties and helps combat the effects of the aging process. Emu oil has also been proven to thicken the skin of the elderly by as much as 14 percent. Medical specialists are discovering the benefits of emu oil and are adapting it into their treatment techniques for relieving the symptoms of joints aching, preventing scars, and treating extra dry skin conditions. In addition to reducing swelling and stiffness in joints, it reduces bruising and muscle pain.
Q: What does emu meat taste like?
A: With more protein and less calories and sodium than most other red meat, emu meat is similar in taste and texture to lean beef.
Q: What is the best way to cook emu meat?
A: Since emu meat is low fat and loses moisture quickly, it is best when cooked to rare or medium rare doneness (145º to 160º F internal temperature as measured by a meat thermometer). For those who prefer meat that is well done, a moist heat cooking method is recommended.
Q: What cuts of emu meat are the tenderest?
A: The tenderest cuts are the select cuts that include the fan, top loin, and inside strip. Select cuts of emu meat adapt well to nearly any recipe. Because of its mild flavor, emu meat accepts most seasonings. It responds especially well to sweet marinades made with honey, soy sauce, ginger, lemon juice and garlic. Grilling on a barbecue after marinating is the best way to bring out the succulent taste of emu meat.
American Emu Association - www.aea-emu.org
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