Snails are the common name for gastropods with an outer shell. Representatives of this class (the most numerous among the molluscs) live both in water and on land. On land, they are common in the coastal zone of tropical and subtropical seas.
The grape snail (Helix pomatia) is the largest in Europe. In Ukraine, it is found in the wild very often. Such snails live in gardens, vineyards, mixed forests, shrubs, meadows and thickets of grass — in a word, wherever there is shade and moisture remains for a long time.
Grape snails can and should be eaten, because they are considered very useful.
Snail composition and nutritional value
Shellfish meat is unique: with a low calorie content (90 kcal per 100 g), it contains 16 g of protein, while only 2 g of fat. There is no cholesterol at all, and the protein is absorbed two times better than from a chicken egg. This protein product is recommended for athletes and those who are on a diet.
The mollusk contains a whole storehouse of useful microelements:
In addition, the composition contains a number of vitamins: A, E, K, PP, group B. Snails ideally complement the diet of pregnant and lactating women. Also, the use of this meat has a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system. Shellfish, like seafood, are considered an aphrodisiac.
The most popular snail dish
Gastropod dishes are common in many countries around the world. Most of them are eaten in France. Gourmet French cuisine offers hundreds of variations on this healthy product. It is baked, fried, pickled, added to soups and vegetable stews. But the most famous snack is the escargot.
For its preparation, grape and garden snails (two types of Helix aspersa) are used. The fillet is separated from the body and baked in a spicy creamy sauce right in the sink. Gourmets all over the world love escargot for its delicate taste and spectacular presentation. The appetizer is served hot in shells, which are on a special dish — escargot.
By the way, in our country, escargot is already served in some restaurants and cafes. You can also order frozen food delivery in the online store or buy in the supermarket. In order to bring it to readiness, it is enough to put the stuffed shells on a baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes in the oven.
Escargot is served with chilled dry white wine and baguette.
Is it possible to collect snails in the wild?
Hearing about shellfish dishes, many Ukrainian housewives have a desire to conduct a culinary experiment. But here the main question arises: where to get grape snails?
The most reliable option is to buy on a farm, of which there are already quite a few in Ukraine. There you can buy already peeled and frozen clams or even prepared fillets (and empty shells if you decide to surprise the escargot family).
But if there is no farm nearby or you just do not want to spend money on an unknown product, then in the spring-summer period, snails can be collected in nature.
Important! Give up this venture if you do not live in an ecologically clean area. There should be no highways, large industrial enterprises, treatment facilities and other objects that pollute the environment nearby.
Provided that there is only nature around, feel free to go in search. It is better to do this in the morning (from 5 to 9 o’clock), when the sun has not yet risen high. In rainy weather, snails sit in prominent places all day.
After harvesting, feel free to start cooking. But remember that the clams need to be cleansed from the inside. To do this, transfer them to a separate container with a lid, leaving an opening for air intake, and do not feed for 2-3 days. The only thing that will improve the effect is flour, which can be poured onto the bottom.
After cleansing, rinse the gastropods under running water and start creating.
Be sure to try this healthy product, because expanding your culinary horizons is cool.