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Turtle butchering tips.

COUNTRYSIDE: Regarding turtles in the Nov./Dec. issue, page 69. To catch: Tie two lines to an empty gallon milk bottle, one long enough to reach the bottom with a rock (or other weight tied to it), the other of equal length with a medium treble hook baited with chicken liver or gizzard. Let sit overnight. Check all lines in the morning and recover your turtle(s). By the way, if you tied the hook to the line with the weight you would drown the turtle before you got around to recovering it. I wouldn't process a dead turtle for safety's sake.

To process: Cut off head with a sharp ax (foot on back and a pair of pliers to pull head and neck over a chopping block. Immerse the decapitated turtle in boiling water bottom side down for five minutes. Remove turtle and let cool. The skin slips off easily (be sure to remove all skin and fat particles. The plastern attachment is softened enough to remove with a sharp knife exposing the muscle and bones. The legs attach to bony protuberances, so it is best to remove the flesh and then when the joint is exposed, the leg bones. The rest of the turtle (intestines, lungs, liver, etc.) is neatly contained under a membrane so you don't have to deal with that. The remainder can be set out for the buzzards to clean up. Use the meat in any of the many recipes to be found by searching the Internet using "snapping turtle soup" and use the bones with raw vegetables to make snapping turtle broth.

I have tried to replicate the recipe for a soup served in a local restaurant (after they flat out refused to give it to me), and have gotten close with some of the recipes that use dry sherry.--Edward P.;
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Title Annotation:Country conversation & feedback
Author:P., Edward
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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