The author of this photo says, “Snails take about 30 minutes to position themselves for mating, then the act itself takes about 6.5 hours to complete… there is no such thing as a Snail Quickie”. It is further stated, “I was interested to learn about what the scientists call a “Love Dart” (which might be what you see protruding from the side of the snail on the right. Scientists are not yet sure what purpose this dart serves or whether it is a benefit to the dart-or or the dart-ee…”
If you do not eat snail meat, please leave this page immediately!
Well, this (the warning above) is what I wanted to receive as a forewarning from a site I landed accidentally. However, I came across a photo there (see below), and the info appended to it took me finally to Giant African Snail meat.
Snails, including African Giant Land Snail, have been eaten for many thousands of years starting from the Pleistocene period. Snails in various cuisines have been popular in North Africa, especially in countries like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and the countries around the Mediterranean Sea for the past 12000 years. In several European countries, as a specialty food, snail eggs are sold as snail caviar.
The three species of commonly consumed food snails from the genus Helix are:
- Helix pomatia (or the edible snail) is generally cooked along with its shell, with parsley butter.
- Helix aspersa (the European brown snail) is cooked according to different local traditions of Mediterranean countries of Europe and North Africa.
- Helix aspersa maxima species of snails typically found in North Africa are also a delicacy.
Snails are a delicacy in the French cuisine, escargots. Snails are prepared with traditional French recipes and served with the snail shells with garlic and parsley butter.
Portugal consumes about 4000 tons of snails annually. In Portuguese cuisine, caracóis, generally served in snack houses and taverns, is stewed with white wine, oregano, garlic, piri piri, coriander or parsley, and sometimes chouriço. The larger varieties of edible snails, caracoletas, are grilled and served with a butter sauce.
Spanish cuisine uses snails (caracoles, caragols or cargols) of snail species such as Otala punctata, Cryptomphalus aspersus, Helix pisana, and Helix alonensis. In Spain, small to medium-size snails are cooked in spicy sauces or in soups and eaten as an appetizer.
In Greece snails are very popular in Crete, and snails are also eaten in other regions, and can be bought alive, from supermarkets. They are eaten either boiled with vinegar, or cooked alive in a casserole with potatoes, tomato, squashes and other ingredients. Sea snails and limpets are also consumed as food in Greece. Another popular snail meat cuisine is the traditional Cretan dish Kohli Bourbouristi consisting of fried snails in olive oil with vinegar, salt, rosemary, and other eatables according to tastes and customs. Snails are also used in tavern menus of Cyprus.
In Sicily, snails (or babbaluci) are boiled initially with salt, and then served with tomato sauce or garlic, oil and parsley. Snails are also eaten in other Italian regions such as Sardinia.
Snail meat (or bebbux) prepared in the Sicilian cooking style is consumed in Malta.
In Germany, the Black Forest Snail Chowder (Badener Schneckensuepple) is a regional soup cooked with snails and herbs.
Snails in the wild are a protected species in almost every country, but Roman Snails and Garden Snails (Cornu aspersum) are reared for human consumption as food.
Though there is no common tradition of consumption of snails in Britain, common garden snails (Helix aspersa) have been eaten in the Southwick area of north east England. Snail suppers, consisting of various snail cuisines, have been a popular feature in local pubs.
In Africa the giant east African snails (Achatina fulica), are canned and sold to consumers. In parts of West Africa, especially in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), snails are treated as a delicacy. The species giant tiger land snails also known as the giant Ghana snails (Achatina achatina) is a species of very large, air-breathing land snail (a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk) are some of the largest snails in the world. In Morocco, small snails are eaten as snacks, usually, in spicy soup.
The commercial farming of snails for human consumption as food is called Heliciculture.
Snail meat has a higher percentage of protein than the meat of cattle, sheep, poultry, guinea pigs, fish, etc. And snail meat is rich in iron, amino acids, and it is very low in fats.
The glandular secretions from edible snails are of high therapeutic value against diseases such as whooping cough. In traditional, tribal and naturopathic medicine systems, the bluish liquid found in snails is used for the healthy growth of infants, and it is useful to combat high blood pressure.
According to legends, ancient Romans believed that snail meat had aphrodisiac properties, and it was regularly consumed by nobles. The high Iron content of snail meat is believed to combat anaemia. Also, snail meat was recommended for patients to cure ulcers and asthma.
Freshwater snails, sea snails and land snails provide a rich source of protein to people living in many regions around the world. In fact there is a flourishing trade of snail meat, the top consumers of edible snail meat being Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Morocco, Nigeria, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, parts of the United States, etc.
Because snails feed on decayed matter and leaves, their stomachs can sometimes contain be toxic matter. So, before cooked, snails are to be purged of harmful contents from their digestive systems, which can take several days. If it is not done correctly and professionally, snail meat can be toxic to humans.