Sunday, February 15, 2015

Canning Turtle...........Or Snapping Turtle is Food Too!

Umm...excuse me?  Did she just say canning TURTLE?

Yup I sure did!  We love to fish for catfish, and where we live, when you love to fish for catfish, you usually catch a few catfish and a whole lot of snapping turtles.

But that is totally ok, because turtle is DELISH!

So pretty much every fishing trip we come home with some of these...

And some of these......

Please do excuse my attire....I would NEVER go out in public in this state of affairs, and probably shouldn't be putting a photo on my blog.....
So how in the world do you reduce a snapping turtle to food you ask?  

The first, FIRST thing you do is make sure it's a regular old snapping turtle and not an alligator snapping turtle.  Regular ones are legal to take here where we live but Alligator Snappers are protected and shouldn't be harvested for any reason!

First thing you do is put the turtle in a tub (nice and deep and with a cover over it because they WILL climb out of things that you cannot imagine they could ever get out of.

We usually keep them in the tubs, in the shade, changing the water every day, from one weekend to the next.  We also put them one turtle to a tub because they will fight.....we've had them get each other bloody in the boat bottom together, so you really don't want to put them in a tub together for a week!

Then you fill the tub with enough clean water to cover the turtle.....

This is a snapping turtle in the bottom of a trash toter....the big ones that they give you from the trash's a REALLY big turtle...
Then you change the water every day.  This is how you "clean out" a turtle.

The water will get disgusting.  I mean.....for real.....super gross, which is why you do it.  You want the turtle to be as clean as he can be when you process him.

Then we process them.  Processing a turtle isn't for the faint of heart, but it is pretty quick and not that difficult.  We hang them up and skin them, and then cut the meat away from the shell.  There is some really delicious meat up between the spine and the shell, the turtle "back strap" if you will.  We slice that and fry it up fresh, but the rest of the meat gets soaked in salt water, and then de-boned.  Then I either can it right up, or freeze it to can later.

We also don't let the shell go to waste.  The Man totally cleans the shell, skull, and claws.  He then seals them with a coating of shellac and then we sell them or give them away.

This isn't the best picture of the turtle shells, but it's the only one I can find!
Lest you think we've been doing a lot of fishing, we haven't.  This de-boned turtle meat has been resting in my freezer until I had time to can it.  I got it out of the freezer last night and after a wonderful, uplifting church service today, I'm canning it up!

So the first thing you do is put your de-boned turtle in a stock pot and cover with water.

Bring it to a boil and boil for about 10 min or so....

Then pack your hot turtle meat loosely in a wide mouth quart jar, and top with your hot cooking liquid.  You can add 1 tsp of pickling salt if you'd like.

Wipe the rim clean and do all the good stuff you are supposed to do when you can, then put on a simmered flat and ring, and process for 90 minutes at whatever weight your altitude calls for (11#'s where I'm at).

Then you take them out and wait for the "ping"!

And that's how you can turtle!

What do we do with that canned turtle you ask?

Well stay tuned for a blog post entitled...

Hot Turtle Bites Served Hot

To find out!

Until next the preacher said today......Grow and Glow in the Lord!!


  1. Pretty neat... I've never ate turtle

  2. I am clearly living a sheltered life, I got stuck at skinning a turtle for a looong time. Never heard of eating turtle! I guess we learn always

    1. Ha! Well I'd say a lot of folks wouldn't maybe eat it, or take time to clean it, but we do enjoy it! :)

  3. That is too cool! Snapper is definitely something I'd like to try.

    Those suckers are hard to kill, too! I read a story about a biologist who found one crushed on the side of the road. He couldn't save it so he cut to head of to make sure it was dead. He came back by the following day, and was going to move it further off the road. He was shocked that it pulled its foot back when he touched it - it was still alive! They can absorb a small amount of oxygen from their skin, which is how they can survive at the bottom of frozen lakes all winter. Cool animals! And apparently, tasty too! :)

    1. They are very delicious and tasty! And yes, they are super hard to kill. This is pretty morbid, but we watched the heart of one beat for several hours after being removed from the body, just to see how long it would continue to beat. It was a really long time! That's really cool about the oxygen, I didn't know that. One year, in early spring, The Man was sitting on our porch and saw something out in the road. He went to investigate and brought back a baby snapper, smaller than a quarter! We named him Big Ern and kept him in a 10 gallon fish aquarium. He was the coolest pet ever! We would feed him small bits of night crawlers, and then whole worms and small bluegill that we caught. He grew so fast that by early fall he was the size of an ice cream bucket. We took him down to the river and turned him loose so that he could be ready to hibernate for the winter. I've got videos of him eating worms. I'll have to do a post about it someday!

  4. Interesting post! I don't think I've ever eaten turtle.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and for the comment! It is really good if you ever get the chance!

  5. Wow, really interesting! I've never had turtle, but I've had alligator several times when I lived in Florida and it is tasty fried. Looking forward to canned turtle ideas. :)

    1. I've never eaten alligator, but I'll bet it is good! I hope you are staying warm! :)


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