Snails in garlic butter

Trying to grow vegetables in my garden is hard enough without having to fight against an invading army of snails. But what can you do with unwanted snails? Here’s a way of killing two birds with one stone.

snails

Collect a number of snails from around your garden. They should be the large ‘common or garden’ variety, though I read that virtually all snails you might find in your garden are edible.

snails

As snails commonly crawl over soil they pick up a lot of soil and it enters their digestive tract. While this is probably very good for a snail’s digestion, it is not good for you as you don’t want to eat a snail full of soil. For this reason you need to purge your snails. Keep them in a bucket or plastic container for about a week and feed them on lettuce, dandelion leaves and thinly cut cucumber. Keep the bucket in a cool place and definitely don’t let it dry out. You may need to let your snails have a ‘run around’ while you wash out their bucket.

snails

The next stage is to stop feeding the snails for a couple of days. (Though keep their environment humid). This will allow them time to digest their food. Then put the snails in your fridge to slow down their metabolism so that they ‘go to sleep’. Prepare a saucepan of boiling water and then drop the chilled snails, with shells, into the boiling water and cook them for about 15 minutes. (I think this is a far quicker and less painful way to go than death by slug pellets). It is not difficult to use a small fork to pull out the snail. In the photo you can see the empty shells.

snails

Apologies for the poor quality photo. Here are the snails that were removed from the shells. You can mince them up and make burgers or barbeque them.

snails

Or you can prepare some garlic butter. Mash together about 50 grams of butter, a pinch of mixed herbs and a couple of cloves of crushed garlic,

snails

Wash the snail shells and add some of the garlic butter to the shells. Then put the snails back into the shells with some more of the garlic butter and put them in the oven on a medium heat for about 20 minutes. The snails are already cooked so it is just a matter of cooking them with the garlic butter.

snails

Hmm not the best presentation – I’ll try harder next time, but the snails were good – and with added satisfaction that this was natural pest control.

 

For some French snail recipes in English.

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