Can you eat garden snails?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat garden snails?”, and how to harvest and cook snails?

Can you eat garden snails?

Yes, you can eat garden snails. Helix aspersa is the most common brown garden snail. Burgundy snail or Helix pomatia is commonly eaten in France.

How to harvest snails from your garden?

Searching for a snail or two on the undersides of leaves is pretty unrealistic if you intend to cook a dish with snails. To trap a lot of snails, you will need to set a trap. For this, you need to adjust a block in any shady part of your yard. 

Make sure the board is lifted from the ground using rocks, bricks, or whatever you have at hand and works. 

The board will be crowded with snails on its underside when you check it the next morning. Pluck the snails from the board and put them in a container with high walls.

How to contain and care for snails?

Snails are like a cool, dark, and damp place. To make sure the place is damp, you need to sprinkle their container with some water. Do not go overboard with this as we do not want a pool of water on the bottom of the container. 

To ensure the oxygen supply, you can poke holes in the lid of the container you are using to keep the snails. You can also use the waistband of old worn-out tights as a lid for the container. 

The waistband fabric stretched across the mouth of the container will keep damp for longer when sprinkled with water. Moreover, it prevents the water from settling down at the bottom.

You need to clean the container daily to keep things clean. Depending on how much slime and poo the snails produce, and how much they are in number, you may need to clean it more often.

How to purge snails?

The purge takes about 5 days before the snails are ready to cook and eat. For the first 2 days, you need to feed herbs and greens to your snails. Then give them cornmeal or oatmeal for about 2 days. 

You could also feed them carrots. Both of these foods will make their poop colored so you will be able to tell when the snails are completely purged. 

The last stage is starving for 1-2 days, which you can skip for ethical reasons. But most people go along with the starving stage since they do not like the snail poop ruining their meals.

How to prepare snails for cooking?

You can skip the chilling step because it does not have any significant impact on the taste and texture of the snails. Before you proceed to cook, prepare the snails as follows.

  1. Fill a pot with water and lots of salt. Bring it to a rolling boil.
  1. Boil the snails for about 3 minutes. Then submerge the snails in cool water to halt the cooking process.
  1. When the snails are cool, pull them from their shells using tweezers.
  1. Fill a pot with water and vinegar in a 3:1 ratio. Bring it to a rolling boil. 
  1. Boil the snails in the vinegar water for about 3 minutes or until there is no visible slime. Although this step is an option, it makes a lot of difference and helps get rid of the unpleasant slime.

How to make Escargot?

Things you’ll need

  • About 12 live snails
  • Bowl or a jar to contain the snails
  • Kitchen towel to wrap around the container
  • A large rimmed roasting pan
  • 2 cups of yellow cornmeal for purging the snails
  • Several thyme sprigs for the purge
  • 2 tbsp fine sea salt for seasoning and de-sliming 
  • Small bowl for salting the snails
  • Large saucepan 


  • ½ cup white wine
  • Fresh herbs
  • ½ small onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 celery stalks
  • Garlic
  • Flat-leaf parsley
  • Lemon juice
  • White wine
  • Butter


  1. Thoroughly wash the snails with cold running water. Then purge the snails as discussed above.
  1. For salting, toss the snails in 2 tbsp of salt in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a perforated piece of foil and let it for about 12 hours. Then rinse the snails and repeat the process until the water runs clear.
  1. To a pot, add 4 cups water, 1/2 cup white wine, some thyme, and paisley. Bring it to a boil.
  1. Sautee the chopped onions, carrots, and celery in a pan and make a broth. 
  1. Cook the snails in the broth for 15-20 minutes until the shell becomes loose. Skim off any slime that comes to the surface in the process.
  1. Use a toothpick or tweezer to separate the meat from the shell. 
  1. To make escargot, toss the snails in garlic, parsley, lemon, white wine, and melted butter. 
  1. Serve alongside a warm piece of crusty bread and enjoy.


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat garden snails?”, and how to harvest and cook snails?


Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.