Fed up with snails? Eat them.

Fed up with snails? Eat them.

This one will separate the men from the boys! I was struggling to find a free food this month for those of you living away from the sea. I came up with a cracker. Look away if you're squeamish...... When ever I venture 'out foreign' I always try to eat the national dish which is how I found myself preparing to tackle a plate of snails last summer. To be honest I did it more for my kids amusement (OMG, Daddy's eating snails!) than the gastronomic journey, the €6.50 being well worth the squealing and mock gagging going on round the table. With regard to flavour, all I can tell you is the garlic butter tasted great. After a couple of quick fire swallows I did pluck up the courage to give them a good chew but can't report any particular taste. I'm guessing they don't rank to highly on flavour charts or they wouldn't be smothered in garlic. C'est vrai, non? Anyway, it got me to wondering if I could eat my own garden snails and, you've guessed it, I can! There are a couple of things you need to do but then it's time for sweet revenge. As usual I'm just passing on the information here which is fairly common knowledge, just don't blame me if it all goes horribly wrong. I'm sure you're used to looking for snails to keep them off your lettuce so you'll know where to find them. This time though, the hunter becomes the hunted! All land snails in Ireland are edible so you don't need to worry about identification. O.K. here we go: You need to 'purge' them of any toxins they may have eaten. DON'T EAT THEM RAW (as if you would) they need to be well cooked to kill any nasty stuff.

First wash your snails with water. Get a container (An old ice cream box is good) with air holes in the top and leave them for a 2 days without feeding them. This is important as it clears out any toxins.    

Now you need to feed them for 3 or 4 days. Some people use oatmeal which apparently improves the flavour. Gordon Ramsay suggests carrots as the tell tale orange, eh, droppings give you the all clear.    

Give them another good wash and put them in a container in the fridge which will send them into a deep sleep.      

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and drop your slumbering snails in it, return to the boil and simmer for 15 mins. If you've actually gone ahead and done all that, well done, skip to the recipe section.