Now I’m not going to lie to you. When Geoff appeared in the lounge brandishing a handful of what looked suspiciously like garden snails, my heart didn’t jump for joy.
They were indeed garden snails (Helix aspersa), which he’d found hibernating in part of a dry stone wall. If you want to eat snails at any other time of year, when they’re not hibernating, you have to keep them for a week and purge them. However, they purge themselves before they hibernate, so if you find them all tucked up for winter, you can eat them straight away.
So he went ahead and cooked them, with plenty of garlic, and I must admit they were OK. Not up there in my top ten, but they’re a good source of protein and iron, and heck, if the French can do it so can we.
Here’s the recipe, in Geoff’s own delicate words:
“First I dropped them in boiling water (to kill them). After about a minute or two I drained the water, then removed them from their shells and washed them in cold water, removing any remaining gloop and dangly bits. I then fried a bit of garlic in olive oil, then when the garlic had started to cook I added the snails and a bit of parsley. Might have been better in butter.”