Kitchen Garden Guides

Friday, July 16, 2010

Have you ever scratched a snail's foot?


It is getting towards snail season in the southern hemisphere and I was thinking of all those garden snails that are eaten in France. There, people make collections of them and purge them, ready to cook.... so I wondered if I might do the same. I mean, why not? I love shell fish and garden snails are just the land version of sea snails.

I was reading about it on this website and it all seemed quite sensible and do-able until I got to..... Check daily and discard any dead snails. Scratch the snail's foot to check; if it doesn't twitch, the snail is dead. Is this a joke or what?


Maybe, I thought, it was written on April Fool's Day or something...

The recipes sound delicious and very French.... maybe one of the blog readers out there, who live in France, can tell us if they regularly go about tickling snails' feet! One farmer I knew of in France said it was not necessary to purge them in water, he just hangs them in nets in the shade for a few days, as its usually done in early spring, and hoses them down from time to time.... Farming can be a gruesome business.

I really want to try this. Please tell us if you have any experience on snail preparation.

(Images from BBC Food and

Australian snail farming.... is there anything Australians don't do?


Laura said...

that dog is so cute
as for the less cute snail - there is a snail museum just down the road from me - i took my niece in the there last summer as she wanted to try them - YUK was her response after liking the garlic butter off.
Anyway my understanding is that the snails are given a last super of mostly thyme to improve flavour and then purged (starved basically) before eating. If you don't mind eating snail poo then I guess you can miss the starvation step. Never heard of the feet tickling bit.

Rusty said...

My only experience with snails was when I was breeding tropical fish. As for them being part of my diet - no thanks - somehow I just can't get other aspects out of my mind. :) ATB!