Our wonderful world is brimming with creatures great and small. There are so many different animals out there.
And in this survival of the fittest world, that means a whole lot of food sources to try. Sorry animal lovers, that might be a little hard to hear.
But alas, that is the way of the world for the meat-eaters amongst us.
There are cows, chickens, sheep, turkeys, pigs, and so many more. And you’ve all probably sampled this meat at some point, right?
Well…what about rodents? Would you draw the line or give it a try?
In some parts of the world eating rodents is the norm, it would be the same as eating turkey on thanksgiving…it’s just the norm. It’s to be expected.
Nutria is a funny little creature, part of the rodent family, that we’ll describe a little more in detail throughout this article. And some people do eat its meat.
Now, I understand if right now the thought of chowing down on some freshly cooked rodent has you a little queasy. But there’s no harm in finding out just what this furry little fellow tastes like, is there?
So keep reading as we explore all there is to know about Nutria and its taste.
What Is Nutria
It’s not exactly as if Nutria comes up in the old Macdonald had a farm song, so you may be wondering what on earth Nutria even is.
This animal is, after all, isn’t all that common. At least, not common knowledge.
Nutria is a pretty big, herbivorous, semi-aquatic rodent. It is part of the Echimyidae family which are all essentially spiny rats. Sounds appealing, right…maybe not.
You’ll tend to find these crazy creatures making the burrows beside the water their home and their diet consists of predominantly river plants.
They are anything but peaceful creatures though. In fact, they can be quite destructive and invasive.
You’ll tend to find Nutria in subtropical and temperate climates such as South America, though you can also find them in North America, Africa, and Europe.
In terms of appearance, they look pretty much like a large rat crossed with a beaver. With a long smooth tail and three different types of hair/fur, many of the current Nutria are cultivated for their fur.
From there, they’ve slowly evolved into a meat source due to food shortages in the local areas.
What Does Nutria Taste Like?
So, when it comes to taste how do these rodents fare?
The meat of Nutria is definitely edible. The main reason it isn’t always used as a food source is that most people tend to regard it in the same way you reading this probably are.
It’s a rodent, I’m not eating that.
And, you know, I can’t say much either. A nice bit of rodent isn’t exactly what I’m fancying for tonight’s dinner.
But for many people where food was scarce, being picky about the food they consume isn’t exactly a luxury they have. And so people began to introduce the rodent to their diets.
While it’s unlikely that Nutria is going to start popping up on the menus of local restaurants anytime soon, in some places it’s actually pretty popular.
You’ll find a whole host of different options using it too. From Nutria sandwiches to Nutria hotdogs and burgers. There’s all sorts to make with this meat. In some areas, it’s also an ingredient in dog food.
But what does it actually taste like?
It’s said to taste a little like a mixture between pork and turkey. Not something you’d expect from a rodent nicknamed a ‘swamp rat.’
It’s a pretty exotic meat but I bet you didn’t know it’s actually a lot healthier for you than turkey.
This meat is lean, protein-rich, and contains much less fat and cholesterol than most of the meat that we commonly eat in our day-to-day lives.
It is generally considered to be a game meat, surprisingly though it doesn’t taste like game at all.
You won’t typically find many places to try Nutria in the US, however Louisiana is one of the very few places that does promote Nutria consumption.
So, if curiosity has got the best of you, you can always take a trip there to sample it.
It’s also pretty commonly consumed in South America and it’s popularity is increasing throughout China and Russia.
Maybe if we can get over what animal we are actually eating then Nutria meat will become more popular.
Is It Illegal To Eat Nutria?
Remember how earlier I said that Nutria is anything but peaceful a creature?
Well, it is unlikely that fur ranchers that introduced them to new habitats had any idea of the absolute carnage and destruction that awaited them.
These large rodents started taking over pretty quickly. They reproduced in large numbers very quickly and became worryingly invasive.
And so to control the damage there was only one logical solution. Turn them into food.
And thus began the trapping, capturing, and cooking of the Nutria. Now, in some regions, it is even considered a delicacy.
Trapping, hunting, buying, selling, and eating Nutria is totally legal in pretty much most regions.
Actually, some experts have even gone as far as to say that Nutria could easily become a great step toward ending world hunger and malnutrition.
With that being said though, some areas do have regulations and laws surrounding the involvement with Nutria.
Fines and even jail time can be expected for those breaking these laws and regulations.
Therefore, if you’re interested in getting involved in Nutria activity, it is imperative that you research the rules and regulations for that particular area.
You wouldn’t want a rodent to send you to prison, would you?
So, it would appear that this large-looking rodent actually tastes a bit like turkey and pork. It is considered a game meat, but don’t expect that signature game flavor as you won’t get it.
How good it is, I really can’t say. Some people’s stomachs churn at the very thought while for others it is considered an absolute delicacy. Maybe we just need to give the rodent a chance?
But for those that have no other options, this meat does give a gift that can never be replaced or repaid; survival.
And if using the meat of this destructive creature could help alleviate the pain of world hunger then it’s definitely worth trying.
Potentially, we just all need to be a little more open minded about this meat. One day it could become a staple part of everyone’s diet. Who knows?
For now, though, it seems as if Nutria will stay an exotic meat in most cases.
If you’re curious enough, or brave enough to try it, you’ll want to try and visit some of the places where this food is more common.
For a closer visit, try Louisiana though it is likely that you’ll also find it in countries such as China or Russia too.
What Does Nutria Taste Like? Does It Taste Good?Course: Taste Like
Ingredients from your favorite recipes
- Depending on the ingredients used, the cooking method, and the type of dish, the taste of the food can vary greatly.
- Make sure to select a recipe that will elevate the food’s original flavor, and enjoy experimenting with different recipes!
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