Tuesday, September 09, 2014


Every once in a while, in the interest of Ocracoke Island history, I like to publish a typical recipe from years ago. The following is Elizabeth G. Howard's recipe from the "Green" Ocracoke Cook Book.

Stewed Snapper

Medium sized turtle. Remove shell, pour boiling water over meat to remove skin. Boil until it starts to leave bone. Remove bone and cut in pieces.

Fry out salt pork, about 1/4 lb. cut in cubes, in the stew pot and when pork is crisp add turtle.

Add 4 or 5 white potatoes quartered, 2 onions cut up, black pepper and pod of red pepper, 1 cup cooking wine, water to cover.

Cook slowly for about 2 hours. When done add 2 hard cooked eggs cut up fine. Serve with baked corn bread. 

Snapping Turtle Laying Eggs

I am not advocating catching and eating turtles, but I did locate this information on the Internet about turtles and the state of North Carolina (I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this information):

"Snapping turtles are economically important as many are harvested each year for their meat. Studies have shown that commercial harvest of snapping turtles in not sustainable and will result in extirpation of populations." (http://www.herpsofnc.org/herps_of_NC/turtles/Cheser/cheser.html)

"Individuals shall collect no more than 10 turtles from the family Chelydridae (snapping turtles) per day and no more than 100 per calendar year." (http://www.nmnh.si.edu/BIRDNET/permit/northcarolina.html)

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of late 19th century steamship traffic to Ocracoke, and the large Victorian hotel that accommodated the guests. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082114.htm.


  1. Debbie Leonard1:11 PM

    No thank you! :)

  2. Anonymous3:46 PM

    Philip, have you never tasted turtle soup? I have, on several occasions many years ago, and I recall it being quite tasty. Though looking online recently, for insights into how to butcher/prepare turtle meat (just for curiosity's sake; turtles have nothing to fear from me), it seems a daunting task. Interesting that your recipe of old includes no details about such things, as if it may have been common knowledge back in those days.

    Thanks (as always).

    1. I have had turtle soup...but it's been many years ago. Now and then Blanche talks about her mama making turtle soup. I agree, it sounds like a daunting task.I am sure that the preparation for fixing turtle dishes was common knowledge back then.

  3. Anonymous5:51 PM

    Although I'll never make turtle soup, I did get something from today's blog. My word for today...The EXTIRPATION of the snapping turtle population, in my opinion, is highly doubtful.