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How to clean and prepare snails a.k.a Congo meat

One of my favorite past times whenever I’m in the east is to go snail hunting with my grandma. She has a small farm at the back of the house where she grows plantains, bananas, oranges e.t.c and most times, the snails come around to eat the leaves.
It’s during this period we usually go snail hunting. We start out very early in the morning between 12 - 3 am with our baskets to see if we’d get lucky and on a very good day, we could get as much as 40 snails each. They are commonly found on banana/plantain trees.
Luckily for me, I found several today though they were not as large as the normal Congo meat but mature enough to eat. Most times we use them for soup recipes such as vegetable soup, Egusi soup, Okra, ogbono soup, stews & sauces or as an appetizer in form of peppered snail kebab. If I had my way, I’d have it every day of the week but that would be too expensive since it’s really pricey in the Lagos market (One could go for as much as 250 naira and you cannot just buy 1 cos it’s sold in sets of 5 or 6). I might have to say such luxury is best enjoyed in the village where everything runs free and wild.
For the purpose of this post; I’d be showing you how to clean and prepare them and later on I’d show you how to prepare peppered snails at home. With the amount of snails I usually find around, I guess I might have to start a snail farm in Lagos really soon because it’s easier and cheaper to set up than fish or poultry farms besides, snail farming is a big and lucrative business for those who know the right route. 

How to clean & prepare snails
What you’ll need:
A hammer / Iron rod 
Lime/ Alum

When preparing snails, its either you break the shells with a hammer or remove the snails from their shells with an iron rod specially designed for the purpose. The difference? One is messy and the other isn't so messy. Either way, you’d still get the slugs out. 
Also. alum cleans the snails faster than lime but usually leaves them soft and when cooked the texture wouldn't be crunchy. Lime takes some time to clean off the slime completely but firms the snails up thereby giving it a crunchy feel after cooking which is usually the best part.

Step 1: Break the snails or remove from the shells with the rod. 

Step 2: Remove the Gut and place the snails in a bowl of water (discard the gut)

Step 3: Slice the limes into two and squeeze the juice over the snails while rubbing at the same time to remove the slime 
Step 4: Rinse with water and cut out the head of each snail with a sharp knife.

Step 5: Rinse severally with clean water till all the slime is cleaned off completely and the snails are firm.

The snails can now be used in any meal of your choice.

Nutritional Info: 
The average snail contains 80% water, 15% protein and 2.4% fat. It also contains essential fatty acids, calcium, iron, selenium; and magnesium. It’s also rich in many essential vitamins such as Vitamins A, E, K and B12 just mention a few.
Snail meat can be used as an alternative to Beef and chicken 

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  1. Whew its time consuming to clean but its worth it at the end of the day.No wonder they tend to be costly

    1. It sure is Seun.....Time confusing but definitely worth it.

  2. I love snails more than I love chicken!!

    Nice write-up BTW!

  3. Aain't i lucky?? My boss just brought 10 very big snails for me from his village dis morning. Will definitely clean dem dis evening and freeze it till weekend wen i would have time to prepare. Thanks Dobby

    1. you sure are lucky.....do let us know how the preparation goes :)

  4. i have a friend who says she boils the snail with the shell and the snail comes out easily,then washes it with garri/lime. i'v neva tried dat method tho. Vikki

    1. i've seen people do that too and it works really well. That's another method that's worth adding to the list.

  5. Really healthy but quite pricey.

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