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There are about 300 types of crocodiles The most well known are the common crocodile (Nile crocodile) and the alligator. The crocodiles that live in the wild-life of South-America, Asia, Africa and Australia are unconditionally protected by the law. This explains why the import of crocodile meat is completely controlled from the exporting country until the importing country by the Cites-office.



Crocodiles live in tropical and sub-tropical waters in Africa, South and North America, Asia and Australia. Large breeding countries are Zimbabwe, Thailand, Zambia and Australia.


Breeding / Hunting

Crocodiles were breeded only forthe skin,their living circumstances hardly vary from crocodiles that live out in the wild-life. For the purpose of other leather they are slaughtered at the age of 2 or 3 years. Most of the leather and of the highest quality is produced in Zimbabwe. Although slaughtering takes place throughout the year, there is indeed a crocodile slaughter season. Slaughtering of large numbers of crocodiles takes place from September until January. After this period, the slaughtering continues in smaller quantities.



For a long time crocodile meat was just thrown in the waste-bin because there were not any slaughter houses that were able to slaughter the meat under sufficient hygienical conditions to make human consumption possible. Of course this was a waste of beautiful and tasteful meat. However, there are some slaughter houses which have made the necessary investments and are able to meet the required hygienical standards. These slaughter houses cut the meat up in many different parts. Another positive outcome of these improvements is that it has created many 'labour intensive' jobs. Of course this is very welcome news in a country like Zimbabwe that has an unemployment rate of more than 30%. Its meat is fair, almost white in colour. The meat is firm and has only a little bit of fat in between, which will come out during cooking. Its taste reminds of chicken, frog-legs, etc. and crocodile dishes can be prepared in a similar way.


Europe imports crocodile tails, tail cuts, fillets and steaks. Most of the meat is from the tails because the so-called body meats are exported to the Far East. This is used for Chinese medicine.


Recipe proposal:

Lemon-Herb Alligator Stew

Ingredients (Serves 8):

2 1/2 to 3 pounds Alligator, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 leek (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup whipping cream
tarragon or sage springs; or chopped parsley
thin lemon slices



In a 3-quart or larger electric slow cooker, combine leek, garlic, tarragon, lemon peel, thyme, white pepper, and sage. Coat alligator cubes with flour, then add to cooker and pour in wine and lemon juice. Cover and cook at low setting until alligator is very tender when pierced (7 1/2 to 8 hours).


In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and cream; blend into stew. Increase cooker heat setting to high; cover and cook, stirring 2 to 3 minutes, until sauce is thickened (about 15 more minutes). Season to taste with salt.


Garnish servings with tarragon springs and lemon slices.


Thanks to: Sunset Crockery Cook Book



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