1 Snapping Turtle
Any old soup recipe will work for (snapping) turtle soup. The main problem
with turtle soup is cleaning the turtle. You have to be certain that every
last speck of fat is removed from the meat before cooking. This is not too
difficult because the fat is between the skin and the flesh.
To butcher a turtle you start by chopping off the turtle's head. Be careful
because the head will still bite even after it is removed from the body and
the body will still crawl away after the head is removed. Turtles don't die
When the body stops trying to crawl away, dip it in boiling water and scrape
off the exterior layer of skin, including the shell. The result will be a
bright white carcus, compared to the muddy brown-green you started with.
Next step is to remove the shell. Cut along grove on each side between the
front and back legs. It is the narrowest part of the shell. The tail, neck
and all four legs are attached to the top of the shell. Remove from shell
and you have the bulk of the meat. However, there will be some meat on the
bottom shell and top shell.
It is at this point that you remove the fat. Just roll back the skin and
with a paring knife and your index finger scrape out the fat.
I learned about turtles from my parents who learned from their German
immigrant fathers. It has been told in family circles that my maternal
grandfather would catch snapping turtles by hand. I never saw him do it
because he was hit and killed by a truck when I was about nine years old. It
was a big loss for me because he was just starting to teach me about
turtles, wild mushrooms, dandelions and other natural things. He made the
greatest doughnuts I ever ate.
Good luck with your turtle soup. Just cook it long with lots of vegetables
and it will be good if you removed all of the fat. - Earl
From Earl Shelsby
Collected by Bert Christensen