From "Northern Cookbook" edited by Eleanor Ellis, Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa 1973.
The industrious beaver is the largest rodent on the North American
Continent, and is found in all the waterways of the forested areas of the
north. Its rich brown fur has long been prized by trappers and hunters, and
the search for beaver pelts instigated much of the early exploration of the
continent. Because of its contribution to the development of our Dominion,
the beaver has been chosen as an emblem of Canada.
If the beaver pelt is to be prepared for market, care should be taken in
skinning the animal. Lay the beaver on its back in a clean place and cut off
the legs at the first joints. Then, with a sharp knife, slit the pelt,
starting at the lower lip. Insert the knife in this slit and, with the sharp
edge up, cut the pelt in a straight line down the belly to the vent. Work
out from this centre line cut and, with short strokes, separate the skin
from the flesh. Carefully pull the legs through the skin, leaving four round
holes in the pelt. Cut off the tail where it meets the fur. Skin carefully
around the eyes and cut the ears close to the skull. Finish removing the
pelt, taking as little flesh and fat with it as possible, then lay it on a
flat surface, fur side down, and sponge off all the blood marks with
lukewarm water. Complete directions for stretching and cleaning pelts are
available from the Game Management Officers.
Beaver meat is dark red, fine grained, moist and tender, and when properly
prepared, is similar in flavour to roast pork. Cut the head from the carcass
and eviscerate the animal as follows: Make a cut through the thin layer of
meat from the breastbone to the vent, encircling the vent, and being careful
not to puncture the intestines. Lay the body cavity open, and remove the
viscera by grasping them above the stomach and pulling down and out from the
body cavity. Carefully cut out the tiny musk glands from under the skin on
the insides of the legs and be sure to remove the castor gland under the
belly near the tail. Trim off all the fat, then wash the carcass thoroughly
with warm water.
Collected by Bert Christensen