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Have you ever wondered what kind of animals you can eat? Sure there are gazillions of species around us, and each one potentially offers a unique culinary experience. But what about porcupines, specifically? Can these quill-covered creatures be consumed by humans?
The short answer? Yes, people can safely eat porcupine meat even if it’s a little stranger than our usual meaty fare.
Why Eat a Porcupine?
If you are stuck in a survival situation and your food choices are severely limited – and there are porcupines – then yes, it might warrant a hunt. Indeed, researchers and adventurers consider porcupines to be a good survival food that provides plenty of energy.
Additionally, you can catch them quite easily. As they have no line of defense except for the quills, they are easier than prey that has the ability to run away with some speed. Porcupines often stand their ground and this makes them easy to catch.
How to handle the Quills?
As mentioned above, once you have dealt with the catching and killing, you need to handle the animal’s quills properly.
One of the best ways to handle the porcupine’s quills is to burn them away. Of course, you will not be able to do this before the animal is dead. Once it’s been killed, light a fire to burn the skin away. Some experts believe that when you burn the hair and quills of a porcupine, it actually improves the flavor of the meat.
Once you have lit the fire, you can tie up its legs and hang it upside down from a pole. This will ensure that the entire body is properly roasted. For the quills, however, you will have to keep the fire closer to burn them away.
In case you manage to create a fire using coals, what you can also do is place your meal on top and keep rolling it over the coal. This will do away with all the quills and give you a nicely roasted snack. However, this process may take longer.
Once you are done, if you find any quills remaining on the body, don’t go about the process again. The quills would be much weaker now. All you have to do is scrape them off, and you will be good to go.
Skin the porcupine
After roasting and burning away the quills, there remains another slightly difficult task. You have to skin your meal before digging in. This is important because obviously, you wouldn’t want to eat through the skin, and secondly, skinning would also remove the last die-hard quills.
If you have not done this ever, you should know, skinning is not a difficult task. You just have to gut your prey and pull it away from your skin. If you are a daredevil, you may even try skinning a porcupine without doing away with its quills. All you have to do is wear some leather gloves and start cutting.
You might even try it without gloves. However, you need to be very careful when you are dealing with porcupine skin that still contains quills, especially when working with bare hands.
Start with the no-quill zone.
You must have noticed how there are no quills on the animal’s front portion. In the belly region, under the tail area, and on the lower side of the legs, you will find soft skin without quills.
If you start with these areas, the chances of you getting hurt are almost zero. To make the skinning even easier, you can hang the body upside down from a pole. If you don’t have a pole, you can always use a tree branch.
Now, you have to make a few cuts at the right places so that the skin comes loose. For this, make your first cut below each hind leg. Your second cut should be closer to the crotch and between the two legs.
After this, you can pull the skin away from the legs and tail area quite easily. And once the tail area is done, the rest of the skin comes off pretty easily from the rest of the body. To cook the skinned animal, you can either cut it into pieces or cook the entire thing as a single piece.