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Snails: Highly Nutritious, Simply Scrumptious

Of all the various available forms of meat, snails are surprisingly one with a rich supply of nutrients. They provide a hefty dose of protein, little carbohydrate and little fat. Snails also serve as an excellent source of iron (much higher than found in beef) and other essential minerals, such as potassium and phosphorus. It is also great for those who are following an ideal-weight diet because they are good sources of proteins and are low in calories and fat. They are also low in cholesterol. If you’re following a low-carbohydrate diet, snails can fit well into your diet as a finger-food, an appetizer or a meal. They can also be added to soup and stews or prepared as a sauce and eaten with other foods.

Though snail slime is used for cosmetic purposes, it is not too appealing for cooking purposes when not properly cleaned out. Slime can be cleaned using three traditional methods: salt, alum, lemon/lime. When cleaning out slime, pay attention to folds and crevices. After cleaning out with whichever agent you choose, give the snails a final rinse in fresh, clean water. Trim off any remaining traces of guts and then cut in halves (or leave as whole) if preferred. Submerge the snail pieces in fresh clean water in a bowl until ready to cook/use.

It’s best not to overcook snails so that they don’t lose the crunch. Here are a few recipes for preparing snails.

Roasted plantain (boli) rings and peppered snail sauce

What you need:

* 8 pieces snails( cleaned)
* 6 cooking spoons tomato/pepper blend (boiled )
* 1 Onion (chopped in rings)
* 1 Onion( cubed)
* 4 fresh peppers ( chopped in to rings)
* 1/2teaspoon ground chili  pepper
* 2 cooking spoons groundnut oil
* 1 teaspoon curry powder
* 2 beef seasoning cube
* Salt to taste

What to do:

* Season snails with dry pepper, some cubed onion,1/2teaspoon curry powder,1 beef seasoning and allow to marinate for about 10 minutes
* Steam snail  with 1/2 cup of water for 10 minutes and set aside
* Heat oil and add seasonings. Fry chopped onion rings and pepper for two minutes. Remove and set aside
* Add remaining cubed onions and fry for two minutes
* Add ground tomato/ pepper mixture. Fry till  dry.
* Add snails , little stock from steaming the snail ,remaining curry powder , seasoning cube and cook for another five minutes.
* Serve with you roasted plantain rings and onion/ pepper rings

Sautéed snails

What you need:

* 4 giant African snails, shelled and cleaned
* 1 medium onion, dice
* 1 scotch bonnet, remove seeds and finely chop (optional)
* 2 tomatoes, dice
* ¼ small green sweet pepper, dice
* ½ small red sweet pepper, dice
* 1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme
* Vegetable oil
* Salt

What to do:

* Remove snails from shell and slice in half, removing the insides.
* Wash snails with alum, salt or lemon juice until no longer slimy.
* Place in a small pan, add some water, a pinch of salt and steam for about five to ten minutes. If you are able to easily prick them with a fork, then they are cooked and ready. Drain and set aside.
* Heat oil in another pan, add onion, thyme, tomatoes, green and red pepper and scotch bonnet.
* Stir, then add salt or seasoning. Also add a sprinkling of water and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
* Add the snails, stir and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
* Serve

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