Some Facts To Know About Snail “Escargot”
The consumption of snail as a vital protein source has been shown to predate human historical times. Archaeologist discoveries have shown that snail has been eaten roasted by early man.
It is believed that the consumption of snail started from the Romans. The Romans have considered snail meat (escargot) as a food for the elite class. They select certain edible breeds of snail for breeding purposes to meet the demand for consumption.
The consumption of snail was also common in Britain. A breed of snail often known as “Wallfish” was mostly consumed. The British usually consumed a large number of snail (escargot) during the “Lent” period.
It is paramount to note that all land snails are edible (provided they are properly cooked). Though the taste of snail varies considerably from one specie to another, the method of cooking escargot also varies from one culture to the other thus contributing to the variation in taste of snail meat (escargot).
Common Breeds of Snail
Some common snail breeds of the world include the following:
- Achantina fulica (Giant African snails) and other Achatina species- Native to Africa countries
- Thelba pisana (Banded snail) – Native to Sicily and several European countries
- Helix aperta (Burrowing snail) – Native to France, Italy, and other Mediterranean 77countries
- Helix lucorum (Turkish snail) – Native to Turkey, Italy and around the Black Sea
- Otala punctate (Vaqueta) – common in Spain.
- Cepaea hortensis (white-lipped snail) – this breed is indigenous to central and northern Europe
- Cepaea nemoralis (Grove snail or Spanish vaqueta)- common in Central Europe and USA
Some Common Food for Snails
Snails of the same species and even the same environment may have different food preferences; however, snails generally prefer fresh juicy fruits and vegetables over dried ones.
Some common foods for snails include: barley, beans, bindweed, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, ripe cherries, citrus, clover, cucumbers (favorite), dandelion, hibiscus, lettuce, lily, oats, green onion, ripe pears, peas, potatoes (cooked and raw), pumpkins, spinach, tomatoes, turnip and wheat etc.
Reproduction in Snail
The reproduction of snail is very fascinating; though snails are hermaphrodite (having both the male and female sexual organs), they cannot self reproduce. They must mate with another snail of the same species before they can lay their eggs.
Some snails alternate their sexual organs by acting as male one season and then female the next season. Most snails play both roles (as male and female) at the same time; when such snails mate, fertilizes each other’s eggs simultaneously.
Thus, all parties involved in the mating process can lay eggs the same season. The mating season for snail is usually during the raining season.
Nutritional Value of Snail
The nutrient composition of raw snail includes; Water, Protein, carbohydrates, Fat, Magnesium, Calcium, and Iron. Snail has no fiber and vitamins
Health Benefits of Consuming Snails
- Snail is an alternate source of protein which provides low calorie. It is a vital source of protein for some vegetarians
- Snail is a vital source of iron which is essential for the production of red blood cells (RBC) in the bone marrow. Iron is also needed for the normal function of the body as it is being used to form other vital components thus preventing anemia, providing energy, and reducing stress. Iron from animal is easily assimilated by the body in comparison to plant iron.
- Snails are a great source of magnesium which contributes to bone health thus preventing bone-related diseases such as rickets.
- Snail meat contains selenium which helps optimize the immune system and also helps to prevent cell damage.
- Snail meat is an important source of energy. It provides about 100% energy
- Snail is an important source of copper and zinc which helps improve melanin pigmentation and production of male spermatozoa
- Snail meat is also a vital source of potassium. Potassium is an electrolyte that plays a vital role in maintaining blood pressure and proper function of vital organs. It also helps to prevent other challenges such as diarrhea
- Snail contains an enormous amount of calcium- a very vital ion that makes up the major component of bones and teeth. Normal blood clotting in the body also requires calcium to prevent excessive blood loss. Calcium also helps to promote nervous irritability and preventing convulsions
- It is believed that snail meat is very beneficial to pregnant women as it aids the overall development and movement of the fetus. It is also a good source of iron for nursing mothers.
Negativity in Snail
- Snail may increase the risk of schistosomiasis if its meat is not properly cooked as it serves as an intermediate host for the miracidium that causes schistosomiasis and meningitis.
- Snail is also a host of rat lungworms which may cause numbness, headache, and spasms if the meat is poorly cooked.
Some Facts To Know About Snail “Escargot”