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Eating local - squirrel

babette feasts Dec 29, 2011 07:04 PM


I know the squirrels at my parents' house are well fed on hazelnuts stolen from their hazelnut trees, so I'd sooner eat a city squirrel than a garbage-eating city pigeon. I once met a guy from Alabama who claimed to have eaten squirrel plenty of times - "you just fry 'em up, they're tasty!" but have not tried it myself.

Where do squirrels land on your spectrum of what is fit to eat?

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  1. schoenfelderp RE: babette feasts Dec 29, 2011 07:28 PM

    I would totally advocate it as long as there's some research on the safety of it (seems pretty safe to me so far). Who wrote the book on whats acceptable to eat and not? Think about how weird a cow and chicken would be were they not socially acceptable.

    1. porker RE: babette feasts Dec 29, 2011 07:36 PM

      I used to hunt as a teenager quite a bit, small game up to deer and moose. Squirrel isn't considered game in my neck of the woods (southern Quebec), but I did read about plenty people hunting and eating squirrel in the American south. I said what the heck and bagged a couple to try. As in the article, not much different than rabbit. I then added it to my small game prey.
      I don't like the idea of eating city squirrel. I use the term city broadly - I just mean anywhere cohabitating with people (city/town/burg/village). Likely nothing wrong with them, but I prefer my critters from the bush.

      1. b
        brooklynkoshereater RE: babette feasts Dec 29, 2011 07:56 PM

        I'm sorry - I'm a New Yorker - and to us, squirrels are rats with tails. while maybe edible, definitely not desired cuisine.

        3 Replies
        1. re: brooklynkoshereater
          Rella RE: brooklynkoshereater Dec 29, 2011 08:08 PM

          I'm a Southerner. To me:
          "... squirrels are rats with tails. while maybe edible, definitely not desired cuisine."

          1. re: Rella
            babette feasts RE: Rella Dec 29, 2011 09:43 PM

            Hmm, I'm a northwesterner, and squirrels are more of a nuisance because of stealing from the garden than anything else, so even though they are in the rodent family I don't think of them as dirty scavengers. I can understand not wanting to eat garbage scavengers like pigeons, seagulls, and raccoons. But if they've been eating fruit and acorns and digging up tulip bulbs... I like rabbit, so if times get tough, I'd totally consider squirrel.

            1. re: babette feasts
              Rella RE: babette feasts Dec 30, 2011 03:41 AM

              If times get tough, I'd totally consider squirrel, too. They live, play, mate in my yard, fly through the trees and generally have a good life. They plant the walnuts from the trees in the yard and garden aerating it; they eat the bird food, so they are well-fed and probably desirable eating. In fact, my cousin has passed down her son's secret recipe.

              Though some think they are cute and cunning, I do not.

        2. f
          freia RE: babette feasts Dec 29, 2011 11:39 PM

          I live too close to a grocery store for me to consider squirrels as good eats...i suspect the meager amount of meat on them would make them more irritating than productive to hunt. Now as for the deer and rabbits in my back yard, well, that's another story...

          1 Reply
          1. re: freia
            porker RE: freia Dec 30, 2011 06:40 AM

            You're right, there isn't a whole lot of meat on a squirrel, but in general, thats not why people hunt. Woodcock are less than a half pound on the wing, yet is a popular gamebird.

          2. j
            Jwsel RE: babette feasts Dec 30, 2011 12:04 AM

            A southern friend of mine's grandfather would hunt squirrel during the year, freeze them, and then they would have a squirrel feast for Christmas dinner. She said it was really good.

            I'm not sure why it would necessarily be any worse than game like rabbit. Both are small animals that forage for food. It's just rabbit has broad acceptance.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Jwsel
              AsperGirl RE: Jwsel Dec 30, 2011 06:53 AM

              But why for Christmas?

              The squirrels in late Fall very fat and juicy after feasting on Fall nuts?

              1. re: AsperGirl
                porker RE: AsperGirl Dec 30, 2011 07:14 AM

                Generally speaking, most hunting gets done in the fall. I assume grandad hunted them in the fall and saved them for their traditional meal of squirrel.
                Where I live, squirrels hibernate in winter. Sometimes banging on the tree will rouse them from their nest, sometimes not, so hunting squirrel isn't easy in winter. Maybe this is why they froze them - not readily available at xmastime.

                1. re: porker
                  AsperGirl RE: porker Dec 30, 2011 09:01 AM

                  My husband wants to teach me some bow hunting next year. Maybe it would be good to start small next Fall. I just asked him, and he said squirrel is good. Now if we can only find some tiny arrows...

            2. d
              debbiel RE: babette feasts Dec 30, 2011 08:34 AM

              We had squirrel when I was a kid (small town northern Illinois). I believe Dad shot them with bb guns or something and mom cleaned them. I have absolutely no recollection of how they tasted. I am pretty sure they made appearances on the table only when we were struggling a lot with money.

              2 Replies
              1. re: debbiel
                marymac RE: debbiel Dec 30, 2011 08:58 AM

                When my husband and I lived in the country we both hunted squirrels, though he would clean them. They are delicious! I would fry them up with onions and mushrooms and a wine, buttermilk gravy. Delicious with mashed potatoes and fresh green beans.

                1. re: marymac
                  freia RE: marymac Dec 30, 2011 09:02 AM

                  If ANYONE wants to find some good squirrel hunting, please please PLEASE come over and take care of the little rodents! We have dozens in the back (backing onto Conservation Land at the edge of town)...feel free to harvest!

              2. m
                montrealeater RE: babette feasts Dec 30, 2011 10:06 AM

                I watch a lot of UK food programming and have seen a couple of chefs advocate squirrel eating - both going to far as to procure, prepare and eat it. Here is a Youtube link to a segment from Gordon Ramsay's F-Word on eating squirrels (grey ones only - in the UK they are an invasive species and are edging out their native red squirrels). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBu4Oq...

                I note this isn't a city squirrel! I wonder if those are edible? The McGill campus is over run with obese grey squirrels, fed on the offerings of students. Good eating?

                2 Replies
                1. re: montrealeater
                  freia RE: montrealeater Dec 30, 2011 10:15 AM

                  Probably no different than pork? In terms of traditional feeding...or squab...?

                  1. re: freia
                    AsperGirl RE: freia Dec 30, 2011 10:32 AM

                    Have you seen Hank Shaw's website? He was in the running for some Saveur best food blog award in 2010, I think. He does a lot of wild game and wild forage dishes, like Acorn Spaetlze and Wild Boar Sugo. I just looked and he has some squirrel up, which he says does well in rabbit dishes.

                    He's got a Spanish braised squirrel recipe up, along with some others. http://honest-food.net/wild-game/rabb...

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