As I had a new litter of wee buns in the hutch, talking about rabbits seems like a great idea.
Why keeping rabbits was so worthwhile
Rabbits are very good at reproduction all the year round. so those families that kept rabbits had a never ending supply of rabbit and chips, stewed rabbit and rabbit pie. Rabbits were killed for eating whenever there were more rabbits than cages.
How to prepare a rabbit for cooking
To dispatch a rabbit, you suspended it by its back legs with the left hand with its back towards you. Then with your open right hand you struck it across the back of its neck with a swift chopping motion. The rabbit was then disembowelled and a stick of wood was placed in the cut to keep the cavity wide open. The following day the skin was removed.
The value of a rabbit’s skin in war-time
The skin was worth money from the rag and bone man who sold it on for winter boots and clothing. First, though, it had to be dried. My father stretched it tightly across a board, nailed it to the board and rubbed in salt. When the skin was dry, it was as stiff as the board, but was softened up by rubbing it together and pulling it over your knees.
(Mole skins could be dried in the same way. My first mole trap cost 2/6 [half a crown] from Woolworths but it soon paid for itself as we got 6d per skin. The skin was parcelled up and posted to an address in the Exchange and Mart. Mole skins were needed by plumbers for wiping lead joints, and were used for the purpose ever since Roman times. Moles were bred on an industrial scale wherever the Romans took their civilization. Nowadays pipes are copper and plastic rather than lead.)
Ps, I would not recommend the 24 aging in skin but we are talking about England where they loved to hang fowl till it aged and you knew it was ready when the weight of the body could tear off the head, trust me that would take days..
Rabbit Pot Pie..
2 large rabbit hind legs with thighs, baked and meat pulled and diced, or two rabbits front legs, or the whole front of the rabbit baked off and meat pulled, in England, they tended to bake them bone in, but most folks now would debone
A onion peeled and diced
half a cup of any color root veggies you could get your hands on
one cup of cooked diced potato’s can be added if you want a bit more filling pie..
Salt, pepper, with some chopped greens in it, at the time it would have been parsley, but nettles or any other hedgerow greens would work just as well.
Well, most of us would eat our stews as just that back in the day, it was very often wrapped up into dough, it added filling but it also when made the right way was easy to grab, pack and eat as a closed sandwich.