10 invasive species for eating

By: Luis Perez

After a recent report about invasivores, people who eat invasive species for the express purpose of controlling the species so they don't devastate ecosystems, a representative from Roger Williams University contacted me and told me they had done research on eating invasive species and had come up with a list of invasive species that can be eaten. I thought it would be interesting to share the list with you. I've also tracked down recipes for them.

1. Lionfish. Lionfish Romesco Stew (www.illinoisbowfishing.net/Recipes.html) was featured in The Washington Post last summer. It was also called the sustainable "it" seafood conservationists say more people should begin eating.

2. Asian carp. The Bowfishing Association of Illinois has a recipe for Smoked Asian Carp (www.illinoisbowfishing.net/Recipes.html) that can be prepared two ways - savory or sweet. You'll have to scroll half way down the page to find the specific recipes.

3. Brassica rapa (aka turnip mustard or field mustard). The Selfsufficientish blog has information about this invasive plant species and a recipe for Simple Mashed Turnips (www.selfsufficientish.com/turnip.htm).

4. American cannonball jellyfish. Apparently eating jellyfish is common in Asia. (I didn't know they were edible.) The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (http://crd.dnr.state.ga.us/content/displaycontent.asp?txtDocument=347) has some instructions on how to prepare jellyfish to be added to salad or served alongside vegetables.

5. Kudzu. I found several suggestions for kudzu on Granpappy's Basic Recipes (www.grandpappy.info/rkudzu.htm). Both the leaves and the blossoms can be used to create teas, salads and even wine.

6. Bullfrog. In France, frog legs are considered a treat. I'm not so sure I'd want to give them a try, but garlic makes everything better so maybe this recipe for Garlic Frogs Legs (www.food.com/recipe/garlic-frogs-legs-14089) might make them seem more palatable.

7. Feral pigs/wild boar. If you're a skilled hunter and want to help thin out the invasive pig and boar population, you might as well make a meal out of your kill, right? Texas Gourmet has a recipe for Sugar Cured Feral Hog (www.texasgourmet.com/cookbook-sub.php?icookId=12) that is cooked in a BBQ pit.

8. European green crab. Green crabs can be used in most crab recipes, although they are smaller than many crabs so getting enough meat can be time-consuming. Try Green Crab Enchiladas (www.bigoven.com/recipe/93371/green-crab-enchiladas) from Big Oven or Green Crab Soup (www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/GREEN-CRAB-SOUP-1201806) from Epicurious.

9. Rusty crayfish. The only time I've ever eaten crayfish (also called crawfish) was in New Orleans in an etouffee. I'd try Emeril's Crawfish Etouffee recipe (www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/crawfish-etouffee-recipe/index.html) if you've got an overabundance of rusty crayfish you're looking to cook up and eat.

10. Rabbit. I've eaten rabbit in restaurants. It's got one of those "tastes like chicken" flavors but a bit gamier. The one time it was served on the bone, I could clearly see the shape of the little rabbit leg, and it kind of ruined the dish for me. So, I suggest if you don't want to think about eating rabbit while you are eating it, go boneless. Try this Hassenpfeffer (rabbit stew) recipe (http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/hasenpfeffer-rabbit-stew/Detail.aspx) from allrecipes.com.

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