REDNECK RESEARCH: Are beaver butts used to flavor ice cream?

I have heard many redneck rumors growing up, so I decided to do a series of posts called redneck research. We will be researching these rural legends to discover the truth.

You have probably heard that the anal gland of a beaver is used to make ice cream. according to Joanne Crawford, a wildlife ecologist a beaver’s posterior smells good. Crawford said that she loves putting her nose in the beavers butt and breathing it all in. “People think I’m nuts,” she said. “I tell them, ‘Oh, but it’s beavers; it smells really good.'”

A substance referred to as “brown slim” comes from the castoreum gland near the bevers anus. This “brown slim” produces the sweet smell that has been used as a natural flavor in ice cream, alcohol, perfumes, and as a natural medician for hundreds of years. Due to the number of beavers, this process is rarely used today.

“In the flavor industry, you need tons and tons of material to work with,” flavor chemist Gary Reineccius told NPR’s The Salt. “It’s not like you can grow fields of beavers to harvest. There aren’t very many of them. So it ends up being a very expensive product—and not very popular with food companies.”

although this product is used occasionally, it is not common today.