Can you eat chipmunks?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question, “Can you eat chipmunks?” with an in-depth analysis of chipmunks, ways to cook chipmunks, the taste of chipmunks, the nutritional profile and the health benefits of eating chipmunks. 

Can you eat chipmunks?

Yes, you can eat chipmunks. Chipmunks are highly edible and are a good source of proteins and other beneficial nutrients. You can cook chipmunks in a variety of ways according to your preference and taste. 

What are chipmunks?

Chipmunks, scientifically known as Tamias, are small, striped rodents that belong to the family of squirrels (Sciuridae). They have chubby cheeks, large and bright eyes and fluffy tails. They are mammals with an average lifespan of 2 to 3 years. 

Chipmunks can have grey to reddish-brown colours, depending on the species, with varying dark and light stripes on the sides of their face and over their back and fluffy tail. The smallest chipmunk ranges from 7.2 to 8.5 inches and weighs 1.1 to 1.8 ounces, whereas the eastern chipmunk can be 11 inches in length weighing up to 4.4 ounces.

Chipmunks generally collect food on the ground in regions with rocks, and logs, where they can hide from their predators including foxes, hawks, weasels, coyotes, and snakes. Chipmunks eat fruits, berries, nuts, pests, grains, and seeds, which they collect into their cheek pouches and take to their nest or hole to save. 

Chipmunks hibernate in winters, but rather than storing fat, they periodically use their stock of nuts and seeds during the winter.

Chipmunks are generally seen running through the underbrush of a variety of environments from alpine forests to shrubby deserts. Some dig holes to live in, while others make their homes in nests, shrubs, or woods.

The taste of chipmunks

The taste of chipmunk varies with the way it is prepared. It can be roasted, turned into patties, or can be used to make a stew out of the meat.

Additionally, there are a variety of acids, salts, seasons, and herbs that can be used to enhance its taste. Despite this, the meat can be hard to chew as chipmunks run around all day, which makes their muscles strong.

The best way to avoid it is by rubbing down the meat before giving it a brief roast or you can also broil just to brown the surface to enhance flavour.

The nutritional profile of chipmunks 

Chipmunks come with a variety of nutritional benefits. The meat is high in proteins and low in fat. Also, it does not contain any carbohydrates and is rich in essential minerals that our body demands daily.

From a single one-pound serving of raw boneless piece of chipmunk, you will obtain many essential nutrients that too in good quantities including calcium, 21.3 milligrams of iron, 87.6 milligrams of magnesium, phosphorus, 1102 milligrams of potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, and fluoride.

How to cook chipmunks?

The simple and easiest way to cook the chipmunk meat is to cut it with stainless steel and then grill over an open bonfire. Ensure you flip the meat consistently to sear all sides. When the meat is fully cooked, the colour of the meat faints and there are no visible signs of blood anymore, particularly if you slice through the meat.

If you have the facility, you can also cook the chipmunk meat in a pan over an open fire. For this, prepare the following ingredients:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Onion
  • Egg
  • Cooking oil
  • Flour

Cut off the limbs from the torso. Chop the torso in half, near the ribs. This makes small pieces that can be deep-fried.

Add some salt and pepper. Mix the egg with the mayonnaise to create a coating. Dip the flour, then in the coating, and then in the flour again. Place the meat into a pan with some oil to fry them. Serve it with gravy. 

Risks of eating chipmunks

Chipmunks are most commonly known to cause Salmonella infection, plague, and hantavirus. 

A plague is an infection caused by bacteria that invades the immune system. It is usually spread through the bites of flying insects carried by infected rodents. 

Moreover, chipmunks spread Salmonella the same way they spread the plague. Salmonella infection leads to severe gastrointestinal discomfort and joint pain. 

On the other hand, hantavirus is known to affect the lungs. People contract hantavirus by coming in close contact with rodent urine or faeces. 

If left untreated, all these three diseases can lead to death.

Conclusion 

In this short article, we have provided an answer to the question, “Can you eat chipmunks?” with an in-depth analysis of chipmunks, ways to cook chipmunks, the taste of chipmunks, the nutritional profile and the health benefits of eating chipmunks. 

References 

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.