Snails are a famous French delicay, but I’ve never heard of anyone eating slugs. A quick google search hasn’t come up with much, but I have learned from this Wikipedia page that they are very closely related creatures both belonging to the order pulmonota.
Is there any good reason that slugs aren’t eaten? Have they been eaten in the past? Are they hard to harvest for some reason? Are they poisonous?
Snails are protected by their shells - slugs rely on the ability to produce large quantities of sticky slime instead - much more so than snails.
For this reason, they’re probably not all that similar to snails (as an ingredient), despite appearances.
I cooked and ate some snails from my garden a few months back - I was really surprised to discover that the body of the snail occupies the entire inside of the shell - right the way up and around the spiral, to the top. So when they’re removed from their shells, they look pretty much the same as before.
(4th picture down the side column on this page: http://www.atomicshrimp.com/st/content/snails )
According to my gf, who ate slug lasagna one time in Campania, they are vewwy vewwy chewy and don’t taste of much. So if they take more preparation than snails and are less tasty, my guess would be that people who are in a land-mollusc-munching mood prefer to eat snails. In much the same way limpets are far less popular than mussels in the sea-mollusc stakes.
I’m not quite sure : is that your site and your experience with cooking snails or are you just pasting the info from someone else’s site?
In the former case, your site seems interesting. I bookmarked it for future perusal.
I didn’t know one could eat hawthorn berries. I would note that at my place, we would keep fairy ring mushrooms until they dessicate, and add them to sauces and the like, rather than eating them fresh, since they have quite a strong flavour. And blackberries…blackberry tarts…hmmm…Too bad that when sold they’re costlier than caviar and mostly tasteless. There are things that are completely unknown to me (marsh mallow, ground elder, for instance. And there isn’t the slighest chance I would pick up a purple mushroom called “deceiver”). On the other hand : wild strawberries, watercress, chanterelles, dandelions…all my childhood… Though… How dare you not mention chestnuts on a page about wild food???. Who can go through the autumn and winter without eating chesnuts???
All my own work - those are the snails I collected from my own garden, purged, cooked and ate.
I’ll get to chestnuts eventually, honest - I did find a few this year, but didn’t do anything particularly special with them - it’s probably good to pace myself with the new content anyway, or there will be nothing to write about next autumn
-Although, in truth, there seems no danger of me running out of ideas for content - the list gets longer faster than I can cross things off it.
I ate limpets once - they were really tasty - possibly the best-flavoured shellfish I’ve eaten (although that could just have been the freshness), but they’re really very chewy.
The interesting thing about them is that they too are just snails - a fact not readily apparent when they’re seen clamped tight to rocks, or even when they’re pried off - they look like a featureless disc of rubbery flesh.
When you cook them, the head and tail pops out and it becomes very obvious that they are just snails with conical shells.
Having been born and raised in Seattle I consider myself an expert on slugs. There are many good reasons that slugs are not incorporated into the diet of mainstream America in the way that the geoduck and butter clams have. For the uninitiated the following information will defy logic so I will have to ask for the support of other PacNW Dopers to address the inevitable skepticism.
Yes, slugs have been eaten in the past. Although hardly a delicacy, I suggest only the truly vomituous try the banana slugcrème pie. That one never really caught on for a number of reasons. But while the banana slug is harmless, it is unique in this regard as slugs go. The brown and black garden slugs are vastly toxic and venomous predators that lurk in the ground cover stalking small mammals and unwary birds. They possess an evil brew of myo- and neurotoxins that rapidly dissolve the viscera of their prey in much the same way spiders reduce bugs to exoskeletal protein shakes. Those who have studied their Tolkein know that JRR actually had intended for Shelob to be an enormous slug, owing to the inherent lethality that the slug represents to all wholesome things, but opted instead for a spiderlike creature as it would be more readily recognized and reviled by a broader spectrum of readers. In short, the vast majority of these mollusks are deadly. The one example which isn’t, is yet disgusting to the palate and shares the same environment as any of the more common deadly ones, so even hunting the mighty banana is a perilous endeavor with no real worthwhile payoff.