Friday, 7 October 2011

Move to Ireland, learn to skin a rabbit. !!!!WARNING PICTURES AT END!!!!

Moving to the Irish country side has been a learning experience. I've learned about different types of potatoes and the harvest, more about sheep than I care to know, and now how to treat game after it's been shot. I thought I lived out in the country before when I was little, but this is nothing. You would think that Ireland being a huge player in the international scene and a fashion forward country that I wouldn't learn how to skin a rabbit at all. WRONG.

Let me preface this by saying rabbits over here are a pest. They tear up the fields and are just as annoying as prairie dogs out west and raccoons/possums in Maine. There are hundreds just around where we live. So yes they are cute and cuddly but they are also a pain in the you-know-what. My father-in-law had shot two at the beginning of the summer, but that was it. He has promised me to let me have a go at skinning them when we got another set, but no luck. However, just this week, one of our neighbours brought us a fresh rabbit he had shot in his field. Big R, as I call my FIL, let me have a go at skinning the rabbit and cleaning the meat. Why did I want to do this you ask? Well, not really sure. Maybe it's because I don't get out much any more, or there isn't much to do around here, or just cause it is something I've wanted to experience, for an anthropologic experiment. I've study history all my life, but never really experienced anything that people from the past would have done.
Now the next part is not for the faint of heart and there will be a few pictures at the end, so beware. However, if you're just curious as to how one would have gotten their food in the past, by all means read away:
For those of you who won't read ahead, it was a good learning experience and I would do it again. I'm hoping we get a pheasant during the season.

We took care of the rabbit in the garage. We had hung it up first for a day to let the blood drain of the wound. We thought it had been shot in the head, but when we took it apart it had been shot through the leg and spine.  The first thing you want to do is take off the feet. Now I will say this was a part that kind of made my stomach turn. You have to break the legs at the knuckle. After you do that you can easily cut the feet off. After that you have to peel the skin off the rabbit. I won't go much more into that, I'm sure you can figure it out. Then you have to take out the inner organs. Another stomach churning part for me was when we discovered where the wound was. There was a slight smell of bad blood. I'm very sensitive to smell, so it was hard, but because the rabbit was so small it wasn't too bad. Probably nothing compared to deer or another large animal. After that you can take off the head. Once the organs are out you can get the meat. Now I don't like meat that much so deciding what is edible and what is not was almost impossible. To me this was like a really cool biology experiment. I probably would have looked at every organ and stuff, but it went straight into a bag.  Big R helped show me how to cut the leg, thigh and breast. There really isn't much meat on a rabbit at all, so to feed a family of 4 would probably have taken at least 3 to 4 rabbits, at least for a good stew.  We put the meat in a salt water pot to draw out the blood and then to the freezer it went until we get another one for some stew. Now I've had rabbit once before and I wouldn't say I'd like to have it again, but I think in a stew instead of a BBQ it might actually be nice.

Overall it was a cool experience. Not for many of you I know. Here are some pictures. My husband posted the video on facebook, but seeing pictures is a little easier to stomach than watching me take care of the rabbit.

I was forced to make this face. But that was the size of the rabbit.

This is the very start of the process, just after we cut off the legs and opened up the rabbit.

Removing the inner organs

Big R is showing me how to cut the breast off the bone.

This is what was all the meat we were able to get out of the rabbit.
oíche mhaith

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