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Another true fur bearer, the muskrat (also known in restaurants and in some areas as "marsh rabbit," although there is a true swamp or marsh rabbit) is noted for its clean food habits. It's a vegetarian and as such seldom eats anything to give an off-flavor to its dark meat, but it can carry tularemia. The fat is unpleasant and should be removed. This is most easily done if the skinned and cleaned carcass (it has musk glands, too, which should be removed) is refrigerated overnight. This hardens the fat and makes it easier to peel off.

The muskrat, even a young one that will weigh about 1 pound and serve 2 people, should be soaked overnight at least, in 2 or 3 baths of water with 1 tablespoon salt per quart, or use 1 cup vinegar to each quart of water. Older, larger specimens will reach 3 pounds in weight and require longer soaking. Incidentally, the muskrat fur, after the long guard hairs were plucked off, was at one time called "Hudson seal" -- a favorite fur of fashionable women earlier in the century.

Jacqueline E. Knight

As muskrat is mainly herbivorous, its flesh is sweet and palatable, similar to rabbit, although darker, and is fine grained. It can be delicious roasted, broiled, braised or stewed.

They should be skinned and cleaned as soon as possible, then washed in warm salted water. Be sure to remove all the musk glands from inside the legs as well as the white tissuet skin and all the fat. Soak the meat in a weak brine for 2-3 hours to draw out the blood before cooking.

Try them: dredged in seasoned flour and pan fried with sliced onions. battered and deep fried. Or ground in a meat loaf.

From: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada


Allegheny Baked Marsh Hare (Muskrat)

Recipe By:	Jacqueline E. Knight	

Amount	Measure	Ingredient	Preparation Method
1		Muskrat	
3	medium	Potatoes	
2	tablespoons	Butter	
		Freshly-ground black pepper	to taste
1	teaspoon	Dried summer savory	
1	cup	Minced celery	
2	large	Carrots	cut into quarters
3	slices	Bacon	

   Soak muskrat in water to cover, with 1 tablespoon salt per quart 
of water, overnight.  Cook potatoes and mash with butter, 1/2 
tablespoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the savory and celery.  Stuff 
muskrat with potato stuffing, and sew up or truss.  Rub with 1 
teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.  Put on a rack in roaster, 
with legs tied to body.  Arrange carrot quarters around the muskrat 
and the bacon on top.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  Pour 2 
cups hot water over the meat and cook an additional 35 minutes.  
Remove bacon and cook for 10 minutes more.

   This recipe yields 2 to 4 servings.


Cream Muskrat Casserole

Recipe By:	Hunters Information Service	

Amount	Measure	Ingredient	Preparation Method
5	tablespoons	Butter	
2		Muskrats	cut into pieces
1 1/2	cups	Thick cream	
1/3	cup	Vinegar	
5		Scallions	diced
		Salt	to taste
		Freshly-ground black pepper	to taste
1/2	teaspoon	Thyme	

   Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in casserole and brown the muskrat
pieces lightly in it.  Mix the cream, vinegar, scallions, salt, 
pepper, herbs and butter together.  Pour half the cream mixture 
over the muskrat.  Cover casserole and simmer over very low 
heat for an hour.  Be careful not to burn the mixture.  Skim off the
butter and add remaining cream mixture.  Heat gently for 10 
minutes until sauce thickens.

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