Can you eat common garden snails?

Having moved recently to Tassie, I have noticed an abundance of common garden snails. They are everywhere and anywhere where they are protected from the elements.

Having lived in China where eating fresh molluscs such as snail and ‘slugs’ was common…and enjoyed garlic butter escargot on the streets of Paris, I was wondering if I was missing out of a opportunity to put this garden pest to good use.

Let us know if it is possible, if you have tried to do it yourself with your garden escargatoire, how you did it and what they like.


According to an It Forum ( rat lungworm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis) can infect snails and slugs that come into contact with infected rat faeces. People can be infected when they eat an infected snail or slug.

Snails from Snail farming, are obviously safe to eat.

My grandmother would cook them at the feast of St John the Baptist, they say that’s what he used to eat while in the desert, and honey. ( Although the Gospel says that he ate locusts and honey).
I remember she’d leave them for about a week to ‘espurge’.
Not sure where she got them from.
I didn’t have any, can’t say what they taste like. And if I can help it I never will😉


I never eaten them Peter but I have friends who eat the common garden snails . This link basically is the information they have given me in prepping them .


You are not alone.

Professionally prepared - with lots of butter, garlic and red wine for the sauce they taste mostly like like red wine garlic and butter. There is a lot of preparation in advance. Certainly a goto if you are looking for something different. The Tassie Dept of Agriculture might have some good advice on using ‘free range’.

Personally, to save some effort, I’d skip the butter and garlic, and then leave the snails out. :wink:


Yes the purging seems to be a key step. I have read various methods of doing it but as I have no personal experience I can’t say which is the best.

From the few times I have eaten escargot I found the texture to be rubbery and the taste unremarkable. I suggest some research into getting them tender would be advisable, quick and just done like calamari or low and slow like tougher cuts of meat - dunno.


I guess yes you can, as in put them in your mouth, chew and swallow, but why would you want to? :wink:

I’ve thrown a few into my fish tank and the trout will generally eat them, so processed into trout flesh is my preferred method of consuming them.


From what I remember, family members would praise grandma’s sauce, (nothing was said about the snails :wink:)

From a quick reading around, also the slime has to be cleaned off before cooking, and the digestive tract removed before serving.
And boiling in any stock for 30m. is one of the suggestions for tenderness. :thinking:


Optional, if you take this short cut

Not quite $80 per kg. Described as tender and chewy. :roll_eyes:

I think @phb might be on to something if there is a plentiful supply in the garden. I’ve only consumed snails as a stand alone dish. They can apparently be used as a topping for other meals, fillet of venison being one such serving suggestion. I’d prefer @gordon alternate serving suggestion. :slightly_smiling_face:

Google Snail Farming in Australia. It’s labour intensive from paddock to plate.



When our son was a teenager, we went to a local French restaurant, and much to our disgust, he ordered the snails and ate them.

They are one thing that I draw the line on.


Not showing this to my son… he eats ants off the trees. He only likes them fresh - I bought him some dehydrated tyrant ants from and he wasn’t a fan. Fresh only.
If he thought he could I reckon he’d give live snails a go too… he watches too much Bear Grylls :joy:


Would definitely advised against it. The rat lungworm mentioned above is real and resulted in paralysis of a young man who ate a slug as a dare with his mates. He ended up dying 8 years later. Not worth the risk.

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No; never tried tried them, or gone hunting for them after a wet night. If they are not bred for human consumption I have no interest.

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The NSW government has a fact sheet on the rat lungworm…it appears that if the snails are well cooked, it is not an issue…

I wasn’t planning to do Sashimi style or eat them like fresh oysters. The plan was to have them cooked as have experienced in Paris and China…

Such as this Chinese one…


Hi, @Sal1. Welcome. It’s great that you have joined the community discussion.

Rat Lung Worm seems an unlikely disease.
NSW Health has some good advice.

Rat lung worm disease can be prevented by some simple measures:

  • Don’t eat raw snails or slugs. If eating snails, ensure they are thoroughly cooked first.
  • Supervise infants and young children in environments where they may find snails and slugs.
  • Wash fresh vegetables and lettuces well before eating in case they have snails or slugs (or their slime) on them.
  • Wash your hands well after gardening or handling snails or slugs.

Yes, eating raw garden snails or slugs is one way to become infected, although the infection is rare, and only fatal in exceptional circumstances.

The list from NSW Health suggests there are other much more likely ways to become infected. Just remember the snails need to be well cooked.

@phb SNAP! :wink:


I live in Tassie too and would be more than happy to supply you with all of my snails. I don’t want them, will never eat them and have no fish or chickens to feed them to so you are welcome to as many as you’d like - preferably ALL of them!! :snail::snail:


Thanks for the offer, but we have enough here to keep us going for a very long time. We have a 3/4 acre garden which seems to be the perfect breeding ground. Fortunately they aren’t noisy…

I would like to try them, but need to build up the courage to put on a gastronomic hat and make a dish.

If they prove delicious and the trend takes off, you may have others that may accept your offer,


My mother says that I found raw snails - in their shells - delicious when I was a toddler. I am no longer that adventurous in my culinary tastes.


Looks like you will be able to buy them shortly.

None for me though.

English gardeners used to eat slugs as they gardened, i.e. without even cooking them. This is not recommended in Australia because snails and slugs in warm climates may harbour rat lungworm parasite that isn’t all that good to ingest. Purging may not shed all the lungworm, boiling is apparently the best way to kill those. (

I know a friend who got some kind of tiger snails (disease free) and started a snail farm with about half a dozen separate chambers, he’d breed them and feed them up on clean greens and (I think) guinea pig feed pellets, then switch them to bran dusted with some kind of lime powder for a few days, then a fast, and then they were pot-ready. But he started with healthy snails and was scrupulous in keeping things washed clean. I have to admit that those snails actually tasted okay.


I will take your word for it.

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