Tasty Guinea Pig, nutritious and green

I blogged about the prospect of guinea pig as a low cost meat. Now others are looking into it.

Guinea pig meat is healthy and on top of that greener than other meats.

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Guinea pigs on the grill

You may best know the guinea pig as a nervous little pet that lives in a cage and eats alfalfa pellets.

Now, the rodents are increasingly showing up on plates in the United States.

South American restaurants on both coasts seem to be pushing the trend, answering to demand mostly from Andean expats for what is considered a fine and valuable food in Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. Middle-class foodies with a taste for exotic delicacies are also ordering, photographing and blogging about guinea pig. The animals ? called?cuyes?in Spanish ? are usually cooked whole, often grilled, sometimes deep fried. Many diners eat every last morsel, literally from head to toe.?

But there may be more to gain from eating guinea pig than bizarre foods bragging rights. According to activists, eating guinea pig is good for the environment.

Matt Miller, an Idaho-based science writer with The Nature Conservancy, says rodents and other small livestock represent a low-impact meat alternative to carbon-costly beef. Miller, who is writing a book about the ecological benefits of eating unconventional meats, visited Colombia several years ago. At the time, he says, conservation groups were expressing concern about local ranchers clearing forest to provide pasture for their cattle ? activity that was causing erosion and water pollution.

“They were encouraging people to switch from cattle to guinea pigs,” Miller says. “Guinea pigs don’t require the land that cattle do. They can be kept in backyards, or in your home. They’re docile and easy to raise.”

guinea-pig-meal

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