If you ever travel to France and want to check out the native cuisine, one of the first things you will likely think about are snails! But come on, who in their right mind wants to eat a snail? You’d be surprised; these molluscs are actually incredibly tasty and while they may be a love or hate food, they’re something that every foodie has to try at least once!
If you’re keen to give this delicacy a try, we can assure that it will be an experience like no other. Whether you come away with a craving for snails or decide that this is not the dish for you, it can be helpful to know what to expect. So, are snails tasty? Let’s find out.
What Does Escargot Taste Like?
One of the great things about escargot (the French word for snails and how they are often advertised on a menu) is that they can be cooked in a variety of butters or sauces. Most commonly, you would eat snails with garlic butter and in this case, you would taste nothing more than this garlic butter.
This is because snails quite easily take on the flavour of whatever they are cooked in meaning that, provided you like the texture, you can adjust the taste to your liking.
Are snails delicious on their own?
Eating snails without any sauce is not unheard of but in this case, you will get the full flavour of the meat. Snails are often said to have a very earthy flavour and can be compared to chicken (what isn’t?!) In terms of texture, snails are very similar to mushrooms, and while a lot of people would expect them to be slimy, this is not the case, although they do have a moist texture
How To Eat Snails
As we have discovered, snails are often served in garlic butter. But if this isn’t to your liking, you can cook them in any sauce or butter that takes your fancy. That is the beauty of this food, it is so diverse.
When you are served escargot in a restaurant, they will typically come in their shells with a special fork known as snail prongs. This utensil features two long, curved prongs that allow the diner to prize the snail from its shell with ease. In addition to this, you may also be given snail tongs, which can be used to hold the shells as you use the prongs to twist the snail out.
If you’ve never eaten snails before and are a little nervous about it, it may help to simply close your eyes and take a mouthful. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the experience.
In terms of cooking, the snails are typically roasted while still in their shells. Although there are other ways to cook them, this is the most widely used method.
Can You Eat The Snails In Your Garden?
Snail farms are widespread throughout France and there is evidence to suggest that this food sustained humans as far back as the Roman times. Although, if you asked anyone today, they would immediately associate the dish with the French.
However, in other parts of the world, snails cannot commonly be purchased in supermarkets or farmers markets and this can make it more difficult to include them in your diet. The good news is that the snails in your garden are just as good for eating, of course, there are a few rules that you’ll need to follow.
- You should make sure that you harvest your garden snails from areas where no pesticides or other chemicals have been used.
- Try to harvest snails that are a decent size. While smaller ones won’t do you any harm, it’s always nice to have a more substantial meal.
- There is a condition called lungworm that can affect snails and this could be detrimental to your health. For this reason, you should always make sure to cook your snails at at least 165ºf for a few minutes. That being said, when oven roasting, you may cook them at even higher temperatures which will do the trick.
- Many people opt to feed their snails on oatmeal for a couple of days before cooking to cleanse the digestive system making them healthier for us to eat. While this isn’t essential, it is advisable.
Are Snails Good For You?
If you are looking for a meat that is packed with protein but is low in fat then snails are a viable choice. While they may not feature on some of the more well-known weight-loss diets around the world, these animals are very low in calories and could form part of a healthy diet.
The snail contains just two grams of fat and 102 calories in a 4 ounce serving. Furthermore, they have 18 grams of protein and are low in cholesterol. Furthermore, snails are full of nutrients and vitamins that could be beneficial to your immune health.
For example, these little molluscs have high levels of Vitamin A which is known to have a very positive effect on the immune system. Much more than this, escargot contains high amounts of iron which is essential for growth and development. In addition to this, iron is also excellent for the health of your skin and hair and will help with blood flow, allowing the red blood cells to more effectively move oxygen around the body.
Finally, snails have a lot of calcium, which, as many of you will be aware, is imperative for bone health. It is also known to reduce the risk of bone conditions such as osteoporosis.
Snails may be the type of food that sends even the most seasoned chefs running for the hills. They are a delicacy in France but for the rest of the world, they are commonly seen as a slimy garden pest.
However, once you try them, you will come to realise that they are, in fact, delicious. The taste of snails is often compared to that of mushrooms, as they share a similar earthy flavor. Snails are also described as being slightly salty and chewy.