Hello, Good News! Welcome to another article where we share with you some of the most amazing and exotic recipes from around the world. Today, we are going to talk about how to cook squirrel brain, a delicacy that is popular in some parts of the United States, especially in the South.
Squirrel brain is not only tasty, but also rich in protein, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. It has a creamy texture and a mild flavor that can be enhanced with various spices and sauces. Some people compare it to scrambled eggs or tofu. However, there is also a risk of contracting a rare and fatal disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) from eating squirrel brain, so you need to be careful and follow some safety precautions.
Why Eat Squirrel Brain?
Before we get into the recipe, let’s explore some of the reasons why people eat squirrel brain in the first place. Squirrel brain is not a common dish in most parts of the world, but it has a long history and tradition in some regions.
One of the reasons why people eat squirrel brain is because of its availability and sustainability. Squirrels are abundant and easy to hunt in many rural areas, especially during the fall and winter seasons. They are also considered as pests by some farmers and gardeners, who want to get rid of them from their crops and plants. Eating squirrel brain is a way of utilizing the whole animal and reducing waste.
The Cultural Aspect of Eating Squirrel Brain
Another reason why people eat squirrel brain is because of its cultural significance. Squirrel brain is a part of the Southern cuisine, which is influenced by various ethnic groups, such as Native Americans, African Americans, French, Spanish, and British. Squirrel brain is often served as a breakfast dish, along with biscuits and gravy, or as a main course, along with fried chicken and cornbread.
Squirrel brain is also associated with some rituals and traditions, such as the “brain sandwich” or the “squirrel pot pie”. The brain sandwich is a sandwich made with fried squirrel brain and bread, which is supposed to bring good luck and intelligence to the eater. The squirrel pot pie is a pie made with squirrel meat, vegetables, and gravy, which is supposed to bring prosperity and happiness to the family.
The Health Benefits of Eating Squirrel Brain
A third reason why people eat squirrel brain is because of its health benefits. Squirrel brain is a good source of protein, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. Protein helps build and repair muscles and tissues, iron helps transport oxygen in the blood, and omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol levels.
Squirrel brain also contains some vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, and copper. Vitamin B12 helps maintain the health of red blood cells and nerve cells, zinc helps boost immunity and wound healing, selenium helps protect against oxidative stress and infections, phosphorus helps form bones and teeth, and copper helps produce energy and regulate blood pressure.
How to Cook Squirrel Brain Safely?
Now that we have learned some of the reasons why people eat squirrel brain, let’s move on to the recipe. However, before we do that, we need to address one important issue: how to cook squirrel brain safely?
As mentioned earlier, eating squirrel brain carries a risk of contracting CJD, which is a rare and fatal disease that affects the human brain. CJD is caused by prions, which are abnormal proteins that can infect other normal proteins in the brain. Prions can be transmitted from animals to humans through consumption of infected tissues or fluids.
What is CJD?
CJD is a type of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), which is a group of diseases that cause sponge-like holes in the brain tissue. CJD can cause various symptoms, such as memory loss, personality changes, vision problems, coordination difficulties, muscle spasms, seizures, coma, and death. There is no cure or treatment for CJD.
CJD can be classified into three types: sporadic CJD (sCJD), familial CJD (fCJD), and acquired CJD (aCJD). sCJD occurs randomly without any known cause or risk factor. fCJD is inherited from a parent who carries a mutation in the prion gene. aCJD is acquired from exposure to prions from an external source.
How to Prevent CJD?
The most effective way to prevent CJD is to avoid eating squirrel brain or any other animal brain that may be infected with prions. However, if you still want to try squirrel brain, you need to follow some safety precautions, such as:
- Only eat squirrel brain from healthy and young squirrels that have been hunted legally and ethically.
- Wear gloves and use separate utensils and cutting boards when handling and preparing squirrel brain.
- Cook squirrel brain thoroughly until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) to kill any possible prions.
- Do not eat squirrel brain if you have a family history of CJD or any other neurological disorder.
- Do not eat squirrel brain if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a weakened immune system.
How to Cook Squirrel Brain: A Delicious and Nutritious Recipe
Now that we have covered the safety aspects of eating squirrel brain, let’s get to the fun part: the recipe. There are many ways to cook squirrel brain, but we are going to share with you one of the simplest and most delicious ones. This recipe is inspired by the Southern style of cooking, which uses butter, milk, eggs, flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg as the main ingredients. You can also add some herbs, spices, cheese, or bacon to enhance the flavor.
This recipe serves four people and takes about 30 minutes to prepare and cook. Here are the ingredients and steps you need to follow:
- 4 squirrel brains
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 2 cups of milk
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A pinch of nutmeg
- Parsley or chives for garnish (optional)
- Rinse the squirrel brains under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.
- Melt two tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the squirrel brains and cook for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown and crisp on the outside.
- Transfer the squirrel brains to a plate and keep them warm in the oven.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the milk until it is hot but not boiling.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until well beaten.
- Add the flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and whisk until smooth.
- Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter in the same skillet over medium-low heat.
- Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until it is thick and creamy.
- Serve the squirrel brains with the egg sauce on top and garnish with parsley or chives if desired.
A Detailed Table Breakdown Related to Squirrel Brain Recipe
To help you understand more about squirrel brain recipe, we have prepared a detailed table breakdown that shows some of the nutritional facts, health benefits, risks, and tips related to this dish. You can use this table as a reference or a guide when you decide to try this recipe. Here is the table:
|Nutritional Facts||Health Benefits||Risks||Tips|
|– One serving (one squirrel brain with egg sauce) contains about 360 calories, 28 grams of fat, 16 grams of protein, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of sugar.
– Squirrel brain provides about 80% of the daily value (DV) of vitamin B12, 40% of the DV of iron, 35% of the DV of selenium, 30% of the DV of phosphorus, 25% of the DV of zinc, and 20% of the DV of copper.
– Egg sauce provides about 15% of the DV of calcium, 10% of the DV of vitamin A, and 5% of the DV of vitamin D.
|– Squirrel brain can help improve cognitive function, memory, mood, and nerve health due to its high content of protein, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids.
– Squirrel brain can also help prevent anemia, boost immunity, protect against oxidative stress and infections, form bones and teeth, and regulate blood pressure due to its high content of vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, and copper.
– Egg sauce can help strengthen bones and teeth,