Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Is groundhog edible?

Posted By on Tue, Feb 3, 2009 at 10:30 AM

groundhog_in_stew.jpg


Yesterday an incredibly uncomfortable looking Punxsutawney Phil -- "seer of seers, prognosticator of prognosticators" -- came out of his stump and declared six more weeks of winter. The crowd booed and Phil was put back into safety.

Or was he? Would it be possible for for those guys in top hats to eat a plump Phil or one of his brothers?

Despite being nicknamed whistlepigs, groundhogs are firmly in the rodent family, on the same branch as the quite edible squirrel. More importantly, they are in a different branch than the bubonic-plague-carrying prairie dog. Groundhogs seem to carry no life-threatening diseases to humans.

Just because they're safe to eat doesn't mean they taste good but apparently they do.

The expert source on this subject is an article from the January 1984 edition of Mother Earth News, which says, "groundhogs are eminently edible and delicious... whistle-pigs are

vegetarians. Thus, their meat, when properly prepared, is quite tasty

and tender." Elsewhere, people describe the groundhog as tasting similar to squirrel or rabbit.

Recipes for groundhog are variations of squirrel recipes, with the

addendum to cure the groundhog in salt water for 6 to 12 hours first

and remove the scent glands on the back and forelegs. Also,

I'm not sure what this says about groundhog eating, but most of the

recipes seem to be from the mid-1970s, like this one for

groundhog stew from 1973's Northern Cookbook:

1 woodchuck
2 onions, sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
Flour
Vinegar
Pepper Cloves

Clean woodchuck; remove glands; cut into

serving pieces. Soak overnight in a solution of equal parts of water

and vinegar with addition of one sliced onion and a little salt. Drain,

wash, and wipe. Parboil 20 minutes, drain, and cover with fresh boiling

water. Add one sliced onion, celery, a few cloves, and salt and pepper

to taste. Cook until tender; thicken gravy with flour.


You're

on your own on catching it.

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