How are snails cleaned and cooked

Snails - “Slow Food” at its best

Especially now in late summer, snails can be found in droves in the gardens. These animals are not meant when gourmets rave about the "delicacy snail", because not every representative of the reptile animals is suitable for consumption. In addition, the correct preparation of the little house residents plays a decisive role in the enjoyment ...

The snail has served mankind as food since the Neolithic, but has never achieved the great popularity of its relative, the mussel. That may be due to the getting used to the exterior and the fact that you first think of the snails from the garden at home - not a particularly appetizing idea.

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The reptiles have a lot to offer in terms of nutritional value. They are considered to be low in calories because they contain little fat, but provide protein, carbohydrates, minerals and trace elements such as potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron and zinc. They also contain some B vitamins, vitamin C and folic acid.

The land-living vineyard snails and agate snails are particularly delicate among connoisseurs, but some sea snails also find their way onto the menu.

  • Real garden snails (lat. Helix pomatia) are rare and are therefore considered an absolute delicacy. They are divided into different types, for example the great gray garden snail or the white garden snail and mostly come from breeding because they are under nature protection in some European countries.
  • Agate snails are more common than garden snails. They are usually larger, but otherwise look very similar to Roman snails.
  • The sea snails include the common periwinkle, spiny snail, abalone or whelk, but the latter are rarely found.

Prepare snails properly

Even if the snail is related to the mussel, its preparation is much more time-consuming and complicated and requires some preliminary work.

  • First of all, the animals have to fast for a few days in order to clean their intestines.
  • Then they are cleaned in vinegar water, scalded, pulled out of the housing, quenched in cold water, freed from the bowels, freed from mucus with salt and washed several times.
  • Then you cook them in broth, only then are they ready for further preparation.

For the typically French variant, the snail shells must also be thoroughly cleaned. Then they are filled with a piece of butter, the snails are put back in and the houses are sealed with herb butter. In a snail pan, they are baked in the oven for around a quarter of an hour and served with fresh baguette.

Since many shy away from the great expense of preparing fresh snails, in this country they are usually pre-cooked and frozen or offered in cans. In addition to the French preparation, snails can of course be used for numerous other recipes, for example wrapped in bacon, on pasta or in a salad.

Eating snails properly

“Slippery little shit!” Said “Pretty Woman” Julia Roberts when she threw a snail across the restaurant. In fact, eating snails is not entirely straightforward. In the restaurant they are therefore usually served with special cutlery, consisting of a spoon, a special snail fork with two prongs and a pair of tongs. Hold the snail with the tongs, let the herb butter run onto the spoon and then pull the meat out with a fork.

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The meat can now be eaten straight from the spoon or together with the herb butter. If you enjoy your snails at home, you can of course simply hold them carefully in your hand as an alternative to the snail tongs. The only thing that should generally be avoided is the use of a knife and fork, as the snail shells can easily break.