Going nuts for squirrel

May 24, 2008

Image from Flickr by The hideaway


 If I saw sciurus carolinensis on a menu I’d conjure up images of fancy but delicious foods. It’s flying off the shelves, low in fat, low in food miles and free range. Ethical, apparently tasty and not that fattening- great! But what is it? Grey squirrel! Now my mouth is hardly watering but its apparently becoming a popular cuisine.

The green credentials of eating grey squirrel are what game shop keepers believe have influenced successful sales. Customers are drawn to the fact that the grey squirrel or should I say Sciurus carolinensis is wild, local and therefore more ethical. Patriotism has also played a part in encouraging people’s interest to this new found culinary delight. The message game sellers are using to tout squirrel sales is “eat a grey and save a red”.

The British red squirrel is endangered however the amount the grey squirrel (the red squirrels American cousin) is plentiful with almost 5 million in Britain alone. Therefore the existence of the grey squirrel is safe with the market still having room to expand.

David Ridley, who runs a fish and game shop in Northumbria has seen a success in squirrel meat sales since stocking his first load of squirrel at the beginning of the year ‘I wasn’t sure at first, and wondered would people really eat it. Now I take every squirrel I can get my hands on. I’ve had days when I have managed to get 60 and they’ve all sold straight away’. Up until now David has sold over 1,000 squirrels at £3.50 per squirrel which have sold incredibly quickly. One squirrel is supposed to be enough one-and-a half people which apparently can make lovely pasties, sausages and bacon.

It is said to taste sweet like a cross between lamb and duck however I’m still unsure whether or not I’d give it a try even though I do eat meat. Yes it seems to be a ethical meat option I know, as well as being described as tasty. However I think that these bushy tailed friends’s suit sitting on parks rather than sitting on my plate and I am yet to be convinced that squirrel chops is my idea of a scrumptious feast.


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