Can You Eat Garden Snails?


Craig recently asked, “I was just wondering if I could gather snails from my garden and eat them? And if so how would I go about ensuring they were cleaned out ?”

What an interesting question that I am sure many people have wondered.

I have done a bit of research and found that the Caferouge website states,

“There are many different types of edible snails in the world. The most common are:
Helix aspersa: also called the “small grey snail.”
Helix pomatia: also called “the Roman snail.” If you’re cooking snails it’s advisable to buy them from the supermarket or from another reputable snail retailer…..Garden snails can be eaten, but you have to be very careful that they have not been near harmful pesticides. It is also important to clean and prepare the snails correctly.”

I also found an interesting recipe which explains how to prepare, clean and cook the snails on the bbc website in a food and drink article for BBC Somerset.

“Mendip Wallfish Recipe
This version of the recipe is by Pat and Bob Reynolds

Collect snails, Helix Aspersa, the common brown garden snail.
Put into a container in which they can be kept moist and can breathe.
Feed them on bran or lettuce or cabbage leaves for 7 to 10 days. This cleanses them.
Put in a sieve and dunk them in boiling water for a few seconds to kill them.
Take the snails from the shells with a small fork, wash them off and then cook.
To cook about a 100 you need a pint of water, ¾ pint of cider, a large carrot and an onion cut into pieces.
Make sure the snails are covered in liquid.
Bring to the boil and simmer until tender for about an hour – it may take a little longer.
Rinse in hot water to clean off the bits of vegetables.

The snails need to be fed lettuce for 7-10 days
Meanwhile put the empty shells in a saucepan with salt and water and bring to the boil.
Boil for a few minutes then rinse in cold water.
Do this 3 times more to make sure the shells are clean.
Dry shells in the oven.

Now to the snails.
You will need a pound of butter for 100 snails.
If the butter is salty you will have no need to add any more salt to the recipe.
½ teaspoon of each of the following,
Chervil, Dill, Fennel Seed, Basil, Sage.
1 teaspoon Chives
3 teaspoons Parsley
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper.
You can use dried or fresh herbs for this.
Grind up all the herbs together and add them to the butter and mix in well.

Take a snail shell, put a little bit of the herb butter into it, then a snail and seal off the shell with more herb butter.
To serve, put the snails on a tray and put into a hot oven.
When the butter bubbles they are ready to eat.
Serve with cubes of bread to mop up the herb butter.”

This recipe sounds great. I don’t know if I am brave enough to eat garden snails but I would certainly purchase the commercial eating snails as I have tried snails in France and enjoyed them. Let me know if you have a go as well.

  1. you can eat garden snails….collect them from your garden and put them in a containerwith a minute amount of water to keep them moist… clean the tub and the snails everyday for 3 days then on the 4th day feed them a carrot… when there poo turns orange they will be free of all toxins…its amazing how clean they are after the weeks out……and they taste better than any farmed supermaket snails…. pure organic

    Comment by ben – March 10, 2008 @ 8:14 pm

  2. do you have a related studies about african snail (achatina fulica)feed to broiler chicken?

    Comment by alfie – June 1, 2008 @ 5:17 am