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Can You Eat Common Garden Snails?

Updated July 19, 2017

Eating common garden snails (Helix aspersa) is a way to turn garden pests into a gourmet meal. Snails are close relatives of clams and oysters. Try substituting snails in recipes that call for other mollusks.

Desliming

Deslime snails before using them in recipes. Soak them in water with 1 tbsp of vinegar and 2 tbsp of salt for every dozen snails. Change the solution several times. After soaking, rinse the snails then boil in just enough water to cover them for 10 minutes.

Shelling

Snails are traditionally stuffed back into the shell before baking and serving; however, garden snails often have thin shells that break easily. Pick them out of the shell with a needle or nut pick, or simply crack the shell between your thumb and forefinger to remove the snail. Cut off the intestines and black parts. Also remove the tail, cartilage and gristle, if desired.

Traditional Preparation

If you weren't able to save the shells, you can purchase reusable shells, which are sold in import or gourmet shops as coquilles. Stuff two garden snails in each shell and press herb butter into the opening. Bake at 218 degrees Celsius until the butter bubbles.

Nutritional Value

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 100 grams of the edible portion of garden snails contains 90 calories, 16 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fat, 250 mg of magnesium, 170 mg of calcium and 3.5 mg of iron.

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About the Author

Jackie Carroll has been a freelance writer since 1995. Her home-and-garden and nature articles have appeared in "Birds & Blooms" and "Alamance Today." She holds a Bachelor of Science in medical technology from the University of North Carolina.