Possums are very common in almost every part of the country. One main question however is ,are they even edible and are they good to eat?
Or are these fury little creatures deadly to the body- infested with disease?
We will see not only how safe it is to eat a possum but also see how to prepare it for cooking and share 4 great recipes how you can cook a possum.
Are Possums Safe/Good To Eat?
Yes Possums are safe to eat as long as they are prepared correctly. It has been known that you can eat anything which lives on land, that has fur or feathers if it is prepared properly- killing any deadly bacteria or pathogens, which could easily harm us!
Possum meat is an extraordinarily rich meat- containing a lot of fat and, it has a remarkably similar texture to chickens.
Possums are extremely prone to deadly parasites (which will make you awfully sick indeed!). However, these animals do not carry rabies due to body their temperature (it is too low!). Furthermore, Opossums are especially important for the environment: they control insects, slugs, rats and mice.
Do People Eat Possums
Possums are scavengers. They always rummage about looking for food, therefore they are ridiculously hard to catch and kill!! The best way to kill them is to either shoot them or trap them- as killing them with pesticides, will mean they ingest unnecessary poisons. For example Within New Zealand, the Possum is a common thing to eat- due to their large population.
In USA it’s more considered as a ”roadkill cuisine” since so many of them are killed per year,most of the people in USA however would frown upon eating a possum.
How Does Possum Meat Taste
Possum meat can vary in taste for some people. Some people feel that it tastes like Chicken- other people feel it tastes like a mini lamb chop. Furthermore, some people call it quite greasy due to the amount of fat within the meat- however to get rid of the excess fat, you may need to bake it. Others, however, call the possum meat sweet.
Furthermore, with fur in the way it can be quite annoying- therefore people boil them which probably gives off the chicken taste. Like any meat however, it will be quite bland without any flavourings or seasoning. You can smoke this meat, cook it, boil it, etc.
Time to try something unique! If you have been wondering on how to create your own awesome, creative dish! However, before you start even thinking about cooking a possum, you must find one to cook. You can use roadkill (if the body is intact) or you can hunt one (ideal in Oceania where this animal is so common!). If you are hunting, try to use clean bullets or capture and kill.
In both cases, you want to make sure the Possum is freshly killed (not diseased or poisoned to avoid health issues). Furthermore, an aged possum is usually best- therefore, you will have to age it for 3-4 days within a cool space.
Possum Pie Recipe
Not to be confused with the Arkansas Possum Pie! That is a chocolate and cream cheese pie! The possum pie we are going to talk about is the meaty one, which you are likely to find within Oceania. This is a unique favourite- especially within New Zealand! It may sound quite gruesome to cook a Possum into a pie, however it is like cooking any other meat!
- One Small Possum, (make sure they are skinned, cleaned and jointed)
- Two and a half Cups of a Chicken Stock
- One – One and a half cups of Red Wine (Use a non-alcoholic variant if you are a teetotal)
- Ten Juniper Berries
- Four Sage Leaves
- A Glass Of Water
- Six to Eight Sweet Potatoes- (vary this on size of the potatoes)
- A small amount of butter
- A small amount of milk
- Salt and pepper for taste
- Two Carrots
- Three to Four Small Sized Beetroots
- A Cup of Olive oil
- One Tbsp. butter
- One Tbsp. flour
- Four To Five Pots
- A Pan
- A Colander
- Wooden Spoon
1.Firstly, try to remove any thin film layers or any other coverings which may be present on the meat. This will massively save time.
Then Place the possum in a pot with the chicken stock, the red wine, juniper berries and sage leaves. After that, pour enough water into the pot so it covers all the meat. Make sure you boil the contents within the pot. Then reduce the temperature of the hob so the pot begins to cool down. Make sure the pot covered between one to two hours, so it all infuses together.
2.Secondly, you need to peel and chop the sweet potato and place within a separate pot of boiling water: coil until the potato is soft.
After you have boiled the sweet potatoes, you must drain the water from the pot- using a colander. After this, place the potatoes back into the pot. Then you want to put the pot back onto the hob (heat turned off- however, it still should be warm).
After this, you want to mash the sweet potato, with butter- you can mash it to whatever consistency you want. Season the mash with salt and pepper for the extra taste. Afterwards set aside the pot of mashed sweet potatoes.
3.Thirdly, you need to chop carrots into small cubes (dicing). After this has been done, set the carrots aside in a separate container, plate, etc.
4.Fourthly, you must slice beetroots very thinly (not too thin though, as it will burn) and place on a new pan. Oil the pan very lightly- then place the sliced beetroots within the pan. Bake the sliced beetroots, in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius / 400 degrees Fahrenheit- until the beetroot is soft. This whole process should take 20 minutes.
5. Fifthly, you need to make a pastry. You can either purchase pre-made ones from your local supermarket/grocery store or make your own! Making your own is simple- and there are plenty of recipes out there. After you have made the pastry- store within the fridge.
6.Then you must remove the possum from pot with the red wine, juniper berries and sage leaves. It is a good idea to retain excess stock liquid for later.
You must not touch the possum, until it has cooled down (you should leave it out for twenty minutes to half an hour). Once the possum has cooled down touch; you must remove as much meat as possible, from the bones of the Possum. After this, you must place the Possum meat into a new bowl (try to cover it if possible, just so it does not get contaminated easily).
Discard the excess bones, as you do not need these anymore- leaving them out will only attract flies.
7.Now you need to make the gravy.
You can either use pre-made gravy or make it yourself.
Place the butter in a new pot and cook over medium heat. Once the butter has melted you need to add the flour; stir until mixed. Keep stirring a little longer to toast the roux (the thickener to the gravy). This will add a bit more flavour and will eradicate the floury taste.
Add three quarters to one whole of a cup of the stock liquid (you should have collected it from earlier- when you removed the possum from the pan). Whisk until the solution is smooth. Then bring the gravy to a boil and keep stirring it constantly. Then you must heat the gravy solution until you are happy with how consistent it is- just do not heat it too much as it will burn.
8.Finally, before you must bring everything together. Add the Possum meat, then the carrots and finally the baked beetroots.
Mix them all together, until everything is evenly coated. Pour the mixture carefully into the pastry you created earlier. Then you need to spread the sweet potato mash over top and place in the oven at a temperature of 200 degrees Celsius or 400 degrees Fahrenheit, for 50-60 minutes.
The way to find out if the pie is complete, is to check whether the crust is a warm, bright golden brown. After this, you must remove the pie from the oven- and let it cool for a minimum of 5 minutes.
When it comes to consuming the pie, you should try to eat it with a Chutney of some sort- or another type of sauce- as it can be quite dry on its own. Furthermore, you should spread the gravy evenly on the pie.
Possum Stew Recipe
A stew is essentially a lot of different things mixed in one large pot. Think of it as a watery soup. Stews are immensely popular worldwide- since they are amazingly easy to cook. Possum stew is mainly cooked within North America- more of a roadkill cuisine.
- One whole Possum- make sure you skin it (you can do this via boiling), and it is cut into pieces- make sure you have aged it at least for 3-4 days
- Two Large Onions- make sure they are chopped
- Potatoes- Make sure they are chopped or sliced
- A mixture of vegetables- these can vary on personal preference
- One can of Mushroom Soup (or you can make your own)
- Two cans of gravy (beef, chicken, etc- or you can make your own)
- One cup of water
- One tbsp of pepper
- One tbsp. of salt (garlic, Himalayan, black, etc)
- A large pot
- A wooden spoon
1.Firstly, you first need to pour water into the large pot. After this, you must place it on top of the hob. You need to make sure the water is boiling. To speed up the process, you may want to boil the water first using a kettle- then pouring in into the pot.
After this, you should place the possum meat into the pot of boiling water- with half a cup of salt. Mix it around so the salt gets into the Possum meat. After this, you must leave the pot for half a day-minimum!
2.Secondly, after half a day or so, check up on the pot. The Possum meat should be a lot softer. You then need to be careful here, as you must pour the water out from the pot. You can use a colander, however if you are using a plastic one- it may burn!
3.Thirdly, you need to add all the vegetables, soup, potatoes, gravy, onions and pepper to the stew. Pour all of it into the big pot- and boil it within the pot.
Then you need to simmer it for 4 to 8 hours- with the top covered.
This is the end of the stew. It serves 8 people which is amazing! It is cheap and easy to cook! It just takes a long, long time- which is why this dish is not ideal for most people.
Possum And Taters Recipe
Whats better, than mixing a Possum with a American classic, Taters! These are a potato dish- like hash browns. A perfect side! What a creative way to mix two American dishes together- roadkill Possum and an awesome side!
- One Possum cut into pieces (serving pieces)
- Water to cover the Possum
- Eighth of a teaspoon of Black Pepper
- Four Sweet Potatoes- make sure they are baking sized, pared and cut into quarters
- One cup of sugar
- Chopped Pieces of Butter or Margarine
- Pre heated oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 191 degrees Celsius
1. First you must skin the Possum. You can do this by boiling it to make the skin soft and then peel the skin using a peeler or a knife. Skinning the Possum is vital, as it reduces the risk of any diseases
After you have skinned the Possum, you may want to chop it into bits. This will make it easier to cook, especially if you have a small oven. You then need to dress the Possum.
2.Secondly, you put the possum into a Dutch oven. Cover it up with water. The water will soften the possum up and allow it to educe more flavour- making it tastier to eat! After you have done this, you must cover the possum with salt and pepper- adding the flavour to it.
Finally, cover up the Dutch oven with a lid.
3.Thirdly, after you have covered the Possum and placed it into a Dutch oven, you must place it on a hob to cook. You want it over medium heat, so it does not get too hot and burn. Only stop the heat when the Possum is very tender and cooked
4.Fourthly, place the Possum pieces on a baking tray. Make sure the tray is prepped with grease-proof paper, so the Possum does not stick.
After this, you need to place the Possum pieces in the middle of the pan, and make sure sweet potatoes surround the Possum pieces. This will make it much easier to cook both the Possum and sweet potatoes. Sprinkle margarine and sugar over the potatoes to make them extra tasty!
You may want to pour the broth you got from the cooked Possum- this is entirely optional; however, it will contribute to a meatier taste.
5.Place the baking tray with the Possums and potatoes on, into the pre-heated oven. Make sure you keep an eye on the Possum and potatoes, as you do not want them to burn! Bake the Possum and Potatoes until they are fork tender, have a brownish colour and all the broth has evaporated.You could use packet taters to save time, however it will not be as nice! This meal combines two American greats! A creative fun way to eat road-kill food! This is also a perfect recipe for those not living in North America but want to try something new!
Possum Sausage Recipe
Yes, if you really are creative you can make a sausage out of these animals! Possum sausage is a rare food- probably quite exotic and not up to everyone’s standards! It will taste like a Chicken sausage- however, it all depends on what other spices, etc you put into the sausage. The Possum sausage is mainly a mixture of pork (build the base) and the Possum.
Five medium hog casings
One Full Opossum- skinned and all cubed (diced cutting)
One lb Pork fat- Cubed (diced)
Two ts Salt
Two ts White pepper
One ts Hot sauce
One ts Crushed cumin
One ts Oregano
Two ts Sweet paprika
1.Firstly, you need to prepare the casings. You can do this by soaking the casings in boiling water for an hour, after this- you must put the casings into another cooler pot of water (around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, 33 degrees Celsius). This cleans them all up. You can also smoke the casings as well.
If you do not want to do this, go to a Butcher and get them to do it for you.
2.Secondly, you must mix all the remaining ingredients together with the Casings. This will inject the flavours and create the piece it into a sausage shape. You can add more hot sauce if you wish, however, make sure it is to your standards- continuously taste the sausage to make sure you like it.
3.Thirdly, you want to grind it all using a coarse disk. This will really get it into shape and infuse everything together. You will start to see the structure form- allowing you to enjoy the sausage. You want it to be well browned- after this has been done, check if all sticks together.
Finally, then, you can cook and enjoy your sausage! An awesome combination of both pork and Possum meat! How unique and creative!
How To Prepare A Possum For Eating
This is probably on your mind right now! After hearing all those creative recipes, you probably want to know how to safely prepare a possum for eating? Firstly, do not hunt these with bullets which carry poison (sedatives) as this will contaminate the meat. Secondly, in terms of roadkill- make sure the Possum is still intact- as you do not want one with its stomach ripped open!
You must skin the Possum! You can do this by boiling it then peeling the skin off. It is best to wait a few days after you have caught the Possum- to skin it. Skinning it fresh is extremely hard to do, and you may make a mess of the possum.
How To Clean A Possum
Cleaning a Possum is like cleaning any other animal. Skinning of course is vital; however, you must clean the body to kill any pathogens or bacteria. You can do this by thoroughly washing the meat with warm water- as most of the germs will be killed by boiling water.
Furthermore, you can smoke the Possum to get rid off the pathogens, bacteria, etc- however, could burn the animal! Make sure it does not carry any diseases. You can check inside the Possums mouth to see if it has any built-up saliva within its glands- if it does it could be a sign of tuberculosis.
Furthermore, you want to keep the Possum within a cool environment, away from any flies, air etc. A fridge is a prime location however, you can use other cool environments, if the Possum is covered appropriately. You do not want any mould growing on it or any flies being attracted.
Do Possums Carry Disease
Possums can carry disease- just like any other animal. Luckily, one of the deadliest- rabies, is uncommon due to body temperature. However, they do carry other diseases. They can carry leptospirosis, a flu-like disease which affects humans, dogs and cats. Furthermore, they carry the horrible Salmonella disease- something you need to consider when eating one of these!
Despite these animals looking dirty and full of pathogens, they do have an amazing immune system! They have a lower average body temperature than most animals- meaning they have anti-bodies to fight off pathogens such as rabies etc.
What Animals Eat Possums?
Quite a few animals eat Possums. These do include Cats, Dogs, Eagles, Owls and Foxes. The possum is quite an easy catch for these creatures- despite the possum being aggressive when it needs to defend.
Baby Possums are mauled down by pet cats- since they are a similar size to a rat. Furthermore, animals which would never eat Possums as prey such as Racoons will also take a bite- actually, anything bigger than a Possum which is carnivorous or omnivorous, will eat the possum. This includes snakes, reptiles, tigers, etc.
What Do Possums Eat In The Wild
They tend to eat dead animals, birds, insects, rodents, eggs, fruit, frogs and grain. They will sometimes prey on bigger animals such as kittens or puppies. However, this is exceedingly rare. They follow an omnivorous diet and mainly hunt during the night or sometime through the day.
What Can You Feed Possums
You can feed Possums berries and fruit- also light meat such as rats, tinned insects, mealworms, etc. However, do not fee them any human type food or junk food! This will make them feel very poorly and could cause numerous complications. It is best to leave them to hunt wild, as sometimes these creatures may act aggressively (although they are mostly tame).
Possums are edible! Roadkill cuisine then! Eaten in Asia, Oceania and North America- these are a common and native dish. You can try creating your own using the recipes provided! Create something creative and unique- and of course you can try your own roadkill cuisine.
If roadkill does not sound too good, you can always buy tinned Possum meat. Remember to clean these animals before consuming to avoid infection and/or disease.