Can you eat gophers?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat gophers?” with an in-depth analysis of the taste of gophers, the nutritional content of gophers, different recipes in which gophers are used, the health benefits of gophers, and some disadvantages of eating gophers.

Can you eat gophers?

Yes, we can eat gophers. Gophers are not only edible but they are very good for health too. Nutritious marrow is present in the large bones of the gophers. Gophers are considered a food staple for predators and raptors.

Taste of gophers

The taste of gophers is like chicken. While according to some people, the taste of gophers is like squirrel meat. As squirrel meat tastes good so it is evident that gophers must also taste good.

The nutritional content of gophers

Gophers contain many nutrients. Following are some nutrients that can be availed by eating the gopher

  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Iron 
  • Zinc
  • Protein

The lifespan of gopher

The average lifespan of a gopher is about three to five years. If we talk about the maximum lifespan of gophers, it is about five years. An exception has been noted in gophers who belong to the genus ‘Geomys’. These gophers can have a lifespan of up to seven years in the wild. 

Recipes in which gopher is used

Following are some dishes in which gopher can be used

  • Gopher bars: After preheating the oven to 350 degrees centigrade, a baking dish is greased with butter and is lined with strips of parchment paper. A small pot of water is heated over medium heat and butter and chocolate are added to it. 

After transferring the chocolate and butter mixture to a large mixing bowl, egg, vanilla, and salt is whisked. It is refrigerated until it gets firm.

  • Gopher’s succotash: Firstly all the ingredients including strips of bacon, lima beans, onion chopped, cups corn and cup okra, etc are placed together. Baking is cooked in a cast-iron skillet until it becomes crispy. 

Except for tomatoes, all the vegetables are added. After cooking, it is seasoned with salt and pepper until it gets combined well. An important point to remember is that frozen and thawed vegetables must be used for speed and feasibility. 

  • Gopher stew: Gopher is washed and drained. Gopher meat is added to a big pot once salt pork is fried. Meat is drained by using paper towels. Onion, celery, and bell pepper are added to salt pork grease and are sautéed. 

Tomatoes and a little bit of water are added when required. gopher meat 19 cups water and the 2 whole jalapeno peppers salt and pepper are added to taste. It is served over beans or rice.

Some cooking tips for gophers

Following are some cooking tips for gophers

  • Head has been removed: Removal of the head is a mandatory step while cooking. After a joint between vertebrae is removed, skin is cut and muscles are removed from the neck.
  • Removal of Guts and Organs: Once the head is removed, the abdominal and chest cavity is opened to remove internal organs and guts.
  • Skin removal: Gophers are small creatures that can make skin removal relatively easy. Starting at the nape of the neck, pulling the loose skin from the back will begin to reveal clean muscle.
  • The meal is placed over fire: As cooking must be done slowly and in a steady mood, that’s why coal is the best option for cooking. The small/thin nature of this meat means that it can easily dry out and become inedible quickly if exposed to intense heat.

Some benefits of gophers

Following benefits can be obtained from gophers

  • Beneficial for the ecosystem: Gophers are very good for the ecosystem as they help to aerate the soil by moving a large amount of soil every year. So they transport a lot of soil to the ground surface.
  • Used as food: Gophers are used as food by lots of animals like owls, snakes, weasels, bees, and coyotes.
  • Tunnel creation: Gophers have the potential to create tunnels that in turn move more water and wait to roots of plants
  • Stimulation of topsoil formation: Gophers have the potential to stimulate topsoil formation and weathering by bringing soil to the surface

Disadvantages of gophers

Following are some disadvantages of gophers

  • Gophers can cause economic loss by consuming roots, bulbs, and aboveground portions of plants.  
  • Girdle the bark on trunks of saplings; clip off the stems of seedling trees and shrubs

Conclusion

In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Can you eat gophers?” with an in-depth analysis of the taste of gophers, the nutritional content of gophers, different recipes in which gophers are used, the health benefits of gophers, and some disadvantages of eating gophers.

References

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nancy-fuller/gopher-bars-2592010
https://www.instructables.com/How-to-Skin-and-Cook-Gopher/
https://naturalresources.extension.iastate.edu/encyclopedia/pocket-gophers-damage-management

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.