The snail farms grow shellfish for sale:
- in cafes and restaurants;
- for export;
- as a broodstock to other breeders.
The last point of implementation does not cause difficulties, since the gastropods in this case are sold alive, but the first two distribution channels require some preparation.
In this article, we will describe in detail and step by step how to prepare a snail for transportation.
First of all, it should be noted that snails are delivered frozen almost everywhere. The exception is made by processing enterprises that manufacture semi-finished products, canned food and other ready-to-eat products. However, even here, if we are talking about a great distance, the mollusks are frozen.
In Ukraine, the processing line is not yet so developed, therefore, canned food and frozen ready meals are made from our snails in the Baltic countries or in Poland.
As for cafes and restaurants, firstly, the frozen product is convenient for storage, and secondly, shellfish dishes are not so popular for the Ukrainian consumer that they are ordered several times a day. At the same time, freezing guarantees the preservation of nutritional and taste qualities for a long time.
So, before getting to the final destination, the following tests await the snails:
- bowel cleansing;
- repeated washing;
Each stage requires knowledge of certain subtleties, which we will discuss in more detail below.
If we are talking about a large-scale farm with an area of several hectares, then the harvest will be large. In this case, even a small weight tolerance matters.
Experienced farmers have a life hack: a couple of days before the planned harvest, the irrigation system is turned off, so moisture is released from the snails’ body, which is about 10% of the weight. In addition, dry shellfish are easier to collect.
Collectors prepare inventory:
- wooden boxes;
- plastic buckets.
For convenience, the snails are first collected in a bucket, and then put into a box, which is covered with a shading net on top. If the weather is cloudy, you do not need to do this, but it is imperative to cover the box with something, as part of the crop may escape.
Note. Dead snails must be collected in a separate container.
The snails, folded in boxes, are washed with a hose or a powerful spray bottle. This primary cleaning performs two functions at once:
- flushing from mucus;
- awakening of animals.
The rinsing step is best done in a shady place or indoors. As you know, mollusks do not like direct sunlight, and in a cool, dark place, the next stage of preparation will be more active.
Having cheered up, the snails should now cleanse themselves from the inside. To do this, you simply do not need to feed them for 3-4 days. During this time, all excrement will come out, and the body of the mollusks will be completely clean.
To keep animals awake, periodically water them with a hose.
After the indicated period, rinse the gastropods again to remove the remaining mucus and lay them on a flat surface to dry.
At this stage, the snails are sorted into:
- first grade;
- second grade;
Suitable for freezing sealed tight bags with a zip-fastener. In this case, the product does not take up much space, and more can be placed in the freezer. However, it is better to distribute the bags evenly on the shelves so that the bottom of the snails is not damaged under high pressure.
The faster the shellfish freeze, the better their taste, vitamins and minerals will be preserved. The optimum temperature is -18 ° C.
Snails are delivered in special refrigerated vehicles. Molluscs are packed in wooden boxes of 3-4 kg and placed on pallets. At this stage, it is important to ensure good air ventilation.
The required temperature parameter is maintained along the entire route in trucks. It is important to undergo a complete check of the vehicle before loading, because in the event of a breakdown, the temperature will drop and the product will be spoiled.
After delivery, it is necessary to quickly unload the vehicle and move the snails to the customer’s freezer.
If these conditions are met, frozen snails can be stored for up to three years.