Can you eat slugs?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the question, “Can you eat slugs?.” We will further look at questions on what slugs are, what they feed, how to prepare and cook slugs, the safety of eating slugs, culinary uses of slugs and the downside of eating slugs.

Can you eat slugs?

Yes, you can eat slugs. Slugs are edible and, like their cousins’ snails, they are extremely nutritious. They are not insects, though they are small and crawly, nearly enough to make an appearance there. Slugs are a plentiful food source for gardeners throughout the warm, wet months of the year.

What are slugs?

A slug is any Gastropod mollusc with a shell that is reduced to an interior plate or a sequence of granules, or sometimes completely absent. In most cases, slugs refer to terrestrial snails. 

Slugs in the Pulmonata subclass have slimy, soft bodies and are restricted to moist, land-based habitats, which are known as freshwater species. Sea slugs are gastropods that belong to the Opisthobranchia subclass of marine gastropods.

What do slugs feed on?

The common pulmonate slugs, including Arionidae, Limacidae, and Philomycus, consume fungus and rotting leaves in temperate climates. 

However, the Veronicellidae family of slugs found throughout the tropics can be plant-eating slugs. Likewise, the European Testacellidae family of carnivorous slugs eats other snails and earthworms.

How to prepare slugs?

Slugs can be a simple delicacy to consume, but it is essential to prepare them thoroughly because of their eating habits. Slugs eat things humans would ordinarily not eat, such as toxic plants and fungi, faeces, and many others. 

Thus, purging their digestive tract has been a traditional means of preparing them for meals. You can simply purge them, by placing them in a jar and feeding them for a day or two only the whole foods that you will commonly consume, including damp cornmeal or moist lettuce, as it helps to change the content of their digestive system. 

For slugs, sometimes, it is best to Forgo the entire purging procedure and simply gut them by cutting off their heads and squeezing out their entrails. 

How to cook slugs?

Cooking slugs can be as simple as cooking snails. However, it is recommended that you purge them for a day or two after harvesting them. 

Boiling is preferred for these small animals since it makes it easier to extract from its shell the cause of snails. Similarly, boiling slugs in vinegar serve as protection and remove a slug’s slime. 

You can chop slugs up in a stew, roast them over an open fire, marinate, and sauté them to enjoy the delicacy.

Is it safe to eat slugs?

It is generally safe to eat when it is thoroughly cooked. Slugs are edible and have the added benefit of being relatively easy to catch. 

However, because wild snails and slugs might carry harmful parasites, they must be carefully and properly cooked. 

What are the culinary uses of slugs?

Slugs’ applications in the kitchen can be diverse and many, as long as you find them good food for you. You can cook them in these recipes and enjoy them safely. 

Fried slugs

Slugs can be fried once they have been prepared by boiling them for two minutes to get rid of the slime. Dip them in the egg, and then in the bread crumbs to deep-fry in hot oil until golden brown, then serve immediately.

Classic escargot

The dish is prepared by bringing water or white wine to a boil and then adding slugs to it in a large sauté pan. 

Afterwards, add a stick of butter and several minced garlic cloves to the pan as the liquid evaporates, which begins to cook the slugs. Allow it to cook for 3 to 4 minutes in a hot pan, then serve.

Slug Stir-Fry 

The slug stir fry is prepared by frying your favourite vegetables in a skillet with a little oil, after which, handfuls of blanched slugs are added and seasoned with soy sauce to taste.

Backwoods Boil 

Boil the slugs or snails for 10 minutes in water with your seasonings of choice, including wild onion and other strong flavours. Serve the molluscs and consume them as a snack or as a soup.

What are the potential downsides of eating slugs?

Slugs can be carriers of parasitic worms that cause lungworms in certain mammals, as they get infected by consuming the faeces of infected rodents. 

In a few isolated cases, humans have contracted parasite-induced eosinophilic meningitis after eating raw slugs. Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, a protective sheath that surrounds the brain that can result in permanent brain damage. It is important to thoroughly cook them to perfection before consuming them. 


In this brief guide, we have discussed the question, “Can you eat slugs?.” We have further looked at questions on what slugs are, what they feed, how to prepare and cook slugs, the safety of eating slugs, the culinary uses of slugs and the downsides of eating slugs.


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