There are more than one thousand types of snails in the world. They live in water and on the mainland. They can be small (about 1mm) and gigantic (up to 30 sm in lengths).
Not all the gastropods are edible. Only two types are edible: achatins and helix.
The achatins live in the territories with tropical climate. Eastern Africa lands are their motherland. Nowadays, achatins are brought up in different countries. In addition to edible properties, they are popular with their medical purposes: the slime is actively used in cosmetology and medicine. Moreover, akhatinas are used as pets.
Helix is a large group of gastropods. They are found in Europe and parts of the Mediterranean region. They are of the following types:
- grape snail (lat. Helix pomatia);
- garden snail (lat. Helix aspersa);
- mountain snail (lat. Helix lucorum).
There are also dairy (or Spanish) snail (Otala Lactea), forest (Cepaea nemoralis), variegated (Cepaea hortensis) and other species.
A wide variety of dishes are prepared from these edible species. They are boiled, fried and stewed. One of the most famous dishes is an exquisite French delicacy, a hot snack of escargo.
Snails are very helpful. Their meat is dietary, as it contains 70% of protein and 30% of amino acids. Its composition is also rich in vitamins, elastin, collagen, allantoin and other beneficial substances. They are recommended for people with gastrointestinal problems, as well as pregnant and breasfeding women.
However, some members of the gastropods class can seriously harm our body.
First of all, you need to know the rules that apply to any shellfish that you are going to cook:
- collection in allowed only in ecologically clean areas;
- thorough cleaning of the body before cooking;
- confidence in belonging to an edible species.
If you decide to make a snack yourself and surprise your relatives, it is perfectly acceptable to gather the main ingredient in natural conditions. It can be a garden, a courtyard of a private house or a forest. The main thing is the absence of facilities, sewage, industrial enterprises, etc. nearby.
Remember! Any snail is a carrier of bacteria. Therefore, it must be thoroughly cleaned, bit externally and from the inside. shellfish is put in a pan or container and is kept on a diet for several days. During this time, their intestines are completely cleaned.
Fortunately, most edible snails are found in our country. They are even bred on special farms.
However, there are many poisonous species. The most dangerous is the geographic cone. It is incredibly beautiful. its cone shell has an unusual color. But this snail is not edible, but poisonous. This unusual predator strikes the prey with a huge amount of insulin, which it releases in the form of a poisonous cloud. An animal that has come to his arm from such an attack falls into a hypoglycemic coma due to a sharp increase in blood sugar levels. The world knows about 30 deaths from cone poison.
Giant Achatines are also listed as dangerous to humans. The fact is that, along with other infections, they can be carriers of a rare form of meningitis, which is caused by a pulmonary worm. Such a disease is extremely dangerous for humans.
Conventional freshwater snails can tolerate tropical parasitic disease schistosomiasis, the second one after malaria. They can get sick even after contact with contaminated water.
The list of threatening and poisonous mollusks is quite large: an oyster drill, a predatory snail, punk rock, prickly moorx and others. Most of them live far from our country.
However, one must be extremely careful and eat only those mollusks, which are pure and edible. It is better to buy them on farms or in a ready-to-use form.