16 January 2009

Raccoon: The Other Dark Meat

Natural foods, unprocessed and untouched by modern production methods, are all the rage nowadays. This could prove to be the perfect food for urban locavores intent on harvesting a reliable source of wild game.

Some excerpts from an article in The Kansas City Star:
"Raccoon, which made the first edition of The Joy of Cooking in 1931, is labor-intensive but well worth the time, aficionados say. Raccoons go for $3 to $7 — each, not per pound — and will feed about five adults. Four, if they’re really hungry. Those who dine on raccoon meat sound the same refrain: It’s good eatin’.

As long as you can get past the “ick” factor that it’s a varmint, more often seen flattened on asphalt than featured on a restaurant menu. (One exception: French restaurant Le Fou Frog served raccoon about a dozen years ago, a waiter said.) Eating varmints is even in vogue these days, at least in Britain. The New York Times reported last week that Brits are eating squirrels with wild abandon.

Raccoon meat is some of the healthiest meat you can eat,” says Jeff Beringer, a furbearer resource biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation. “During grad school, my roommate and I ate 32 coons one winter. It was all free, and it was really good. If you think about being green and eating organically, raccoon meat is the ultimate organic food,” with no steroids, no antibiotics, no growth hormones.

And when people eat wild meat, Beringer says, “it reminds the modernized society — people who usually eat food from a plastic wrapper — where food comes from."
In Ohio, raccoon season ends on the last day of January, and there's no daily bag limit, so get 'em while the gettin's good. You'll need a valid hunting or trapping license unless you're having problem raccoon interactions with your pets, or are eradicating dangerous raccoons from your dwelling.

The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources says, "Raccoons are well adapted to urban living. Raccoon damage typically involves raiding gardens, upsetting trash cans and taking up residence in chimneys, attics or other unwanted areas. Control is not difficult, but requires persistence.

Nuisance or sick raccoons may be trapped without a permit, but it is illegal to live trap and relocate them to a new area. In order to prevent the possible spread of raccoon diseases in Ohio, all live trapped raccoons must be released again on the homeowner's property or humanely euthanized.

Once that's done, you'll find some tasty raccoon recipes here. Or head down to the Mercantile Library and see if they have a first edition of "The Joy of Cooking".


columbus exile said...

I don't need knifewielding raccoons attacking kittens in my neighborhood. I don't care how tasty they are!

Feoshia said...

ewww. sorry, but ewww.

CityKin said...

I don't think I can eat any animal with hands.

Mark Miller said...

Use a knife and fork, it's more civilized.

Mark Miller said...

On a related note:
Al the Hunter

Unknown said...

It's a known fact--raccoons always return.

"Now the doctor came in stinking of gin
And proceeded to lie on the table
He said Rocky you met your match
And Rocky said, Doc it's only a scratch
And I'll be better I'll be better doc as soon as I am able"