Snails as food!

Humans have been eating ground snails for thousands of years. Snails contain low levels of fat. They contain a lot of water and a lot of protein. 

Snails can be prepared in many different ways and there are many different dishes around the world. In America, the recipes with snails are little known, but in Europe, snails are considered a delicacy, and very expensive dishes based on snails can be found. 

In this article you will find how snails are perceived in different areas of the world, the nutritional values of snails, the beneficial properties that make snails a very interesting food source, a recipe proposal, and the way in which snails should be prepared before cooking.

More about snail farming, export, and import in the USA in How Profitable Is Snail Farming In The USA?Opens in a new tab.

How eating snails is perceived in different locations 

In areas near the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, it is easy to find ready-to-eat snails and snail eggs in supermarkets. In different countries of Africa, in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece snails are appreciated by the locals. There are many renowned restaurants where the specialty is snails. For example, in Portugal alone 4000 tons of snails are consumed every year! 

There are many snail farms in these countries due to high demand. However, these countries are also doing a lot to meet the demand of their inhabitants. 

Many food experts predict that in the future the diet of humans will be based largely on insects and mollusks. Thanks to their low-fat properties, rich in protein and vitamin B12, and their content of substances that reduce bad cholesterol, these animals can regain their good reputation and become a staple of our diet.

Nutritional value of snails.

In this table you will find the nutritional values of snails per 100 grams:

Nutritional value : 
Calories: 78 kcal Protein: 16 g Carbohydrate: 0 g Fat: 1. 6 g Calcium: 150 mg Iron: 10. 7 mg Magnesium: 250 mg Potassium: 382 mg Phosphorus: 270 mg

Snail meat contains very few calories and little fat. This food is recommended for people who want to fight overweight. It is also an ideal food for sportsmen and women thanks to its protein content that allows the regeneration of the muscles after a sport session. 

Snails are also rich in phosphorus and calcium. These minerals enable the maintenance of teeth and bones. They are also rich in iron. Iron helps prevent anemia. 

They also contain niacin. Niacin improves the assimilation of the energy provided by other foods. As snails are easily absorbed by the body, digestion is facilitated. 

Snails also contain vitamin E. This vitamin is normally present in fatty foods such as vegetable oils, eggs, and some nuts and green vegetables. Vitamin E protects our body from free radicals that are harmful to our cells. It’s what we call an antioxidant effect.

Another vitamin contained in snails is vitamin B12. It is necessary to avoid pernicious anemia. Anemia increases fatigue and can reduce the production of new cells. 

Vitamin B12 can only be found in foods of animal origin. The magnesium contained in 100g covers 70% of the daily needs of men and 80% of women. It also contributes to the neuromuscular maintenance of the body and bones. 

All mollusks are rich in zinc. Zinc participates in sexual maturity and also has antioxidant properties.

Snail species that are mainly appreciated in Europe.

Among the edible land snails, some species are more appreciated than others. In France, for example, where dishes made from snails are called “escargots”, the following species are eaten in particular: 

  • the Roman snail (Helix pomatia), 
  • the garden snail (Helix aspersa) 
  • the European snail (Helix lucorum). 

These species are usually served as an aperitif in different countries of Africa and southern Europe. 

Other species of edible snails are: Cepaea nemoralis, Cepaea hortensis, Achatina fulica, Helix aperta and Otala punctata.

A general guideline to follow before cooking snail

Snail recipes are usually very simple. However, the most important step is the preparation of the snail for cooking. Follow these steps to clean the snails and avoid unwanted parasites or bad taste in your dishes : 

Before cooking the snails let them fast for at least one week. Put the snails in a mesh with holes in it so they can breathe. hangs the net in an airy, shady place. 

Many people feed them only with flour days before. Eating flour will help the snails to expel all unwanted residues from their bodies. 

The day you are going to cook the snails, prepare a large bowl with cold water, salt and vinegar. Immerse the snails in the water. You can add salt to the edge of the container to prevent the snails from escaping. This process will allow the snails to release much of their slime. Repeat this step several times to improve the results.

Choose snails that are already purified so that the taste of your dishes is not altered. 

When you’re going to put them in the pot, use cold water. If we use hot water directly, the snails will stay inside their shell. This will make it difficult to extract them while we eat. You can raise the temperature to a boiling point when the snails take out their horns. 

It is normal for snails to foam up during cooking. The foam disappears by itself, but it is recommended to remove it so that it does not alter the taste of your dish. 

Once the snails are cooked, remove them from the water and drain them properly.

Simple recipe description.

There are a lot of recipes Opens in a new tab.out there. Here you have a simple recipe with snails that everyone will love : 

1. 5 kg. Snails 600 grs. Fried Tomato 100 ml. White wine 1 large onion 3 cloves of garlic 1 cube of meat stock 2 or 3 cayenne pepper olive oil 2 bay leaves thyme black pepper and salt


  • In a large bowl put plenty of water and four or five tablespoons of salt. Put the live snails inside and let them rest for 40 minutes or until the snails come out of their shell. 
  • Then rubs the snails to remove all the impurities. Change the water two or three times until the water is clean. 
  • Look at them one by one before you cook them. Make sure they’re alive. Rule out dead snails. 
  • Add the bay leaves and thyme in a large pot. Steart by adding cold water for cooking. Light a low fire so the snails can finish coming out of their shells. 
  • Let it cook until the water starts to boil. Remove the foam that is forming on the surface with a skimmer. 
  • When the water boils add the salt and let it cook over a low heat for 20 minutes. Then take them out of the water and remove the water. . . 
  • Put the olive oil in a deep, wide pot.When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic, which have been finely chopped. 
  • Cook them over low heat. Stir from time to time to mix it all up. Be careful it’s not too golden. 
  • It’s time to add the tomato sauce. Let everything cook together for a while. 
  • After a while add the white wine and stir. When the alcohol evaporates, add the chilies, black pepper, and cube of meat stock. At that time put hot water in the pot and add the cooked snails. 
  • Cover the pot and let it cook for about 20 minutes. 
  • If the sauce evaporates, add some hot water. 
  • Control if it is salted enough. If you want it to be spicier you can add more pepper or more cayenne pepper. The dish is ready. 
  • Let it rest for a day. The ingredients will be mixed and the taste will be more intense.

Which wine do we drink while eating snails ? 

Spanish people eat snails as an appetizer. They cook them with many aromatic herbs, tomatoes, and they are usually spicy. In this case, it is ideal to serve them with a cold beer to counteract the spicy taste of the dish. 

French Opens in a new tab.people prefer to cook this dish with butter. In this case, it is preferable to accompany the snails with white wine. The white wine decreases the creamy taste of the butter and highlights the taste of the snails. 

Choose the drink you prefer according to the recipe you have chosen.

Conclusion: Why snails are a good dish

  1. Snails are low in calories and fat. This makes snails an ideal food to incorporate into the diet of people who want to combat overweight. They have a high protein content, which will allow the regeneration of tissues and the creation of muscle mass. 
  2. Its high phosphorus and calcium content helps maintain the structure of teeth and bones. Its high iron content will make it easier to avoid anaemia. 
  3. The niacin it contains improves the assimilation of the energy provided by other foods. As snails are easily absorbed by the body, digestion is facilitated.
  4. They are easy to cook if we respect the cleaning that comes before. 
  5. They are an ecological source of protein.

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