When it comes to snail farming business, how well you add value to your snail meat has a direct impact on the profit you make
Let’s use this pretty basic analogy to explain how
Put aside the fact that you’re a snail farmer and put yourself in the shoes of someone who goes to the mall or a restaurant with the purpose of buying a few kilograms of snail meat. Let’s say you do this on two different occasions and at both times, you discover that the snail meat you spent your precious money on, had an unpleasant taste.
Quick question, would you be so pleased to purchase your snail meat from that same source the third time? Well, it doesn’t take a degree in psychology to predict your answer is a definite NO!
This exactly is the reaction of people who patronize your snail farm to get meat, and don’t get the value they paid for, the value, in this case, means the taste, cleanliness, and shelf life of your snail meat. Hence why you must give attention to how you process your snail meat.
In one of our previous articles, we walked you through how what you feed your snails can greatly affect the size and how delicious the meat turns out (which are both essential factors your customers look out for), but one more thing that will turn your visitors to full-time customers is how well you process your snail meat, and this is what this article focuses on, plus you also get to learn how you can effectively preserve your snail meat.
Snail Farming Business Value Addition Methods
For every method we’re going to be listing in this article, the first step, to begin with, is for you to starve the snails you want to process for up to 48 hours, this step is important to get all their natural diets out and reduce the amount of poo (Okay, we will be less gross and call that “waste”) they have in them, to make the cleaning process less gross for you.
Now to the Process:
Remove the snail from its shell
There are three ways you can do this;
1) Breaking the shell
: you can do this using any hard object that will make it easy for you to break the shell, you can use a stone. After you’ve done this, remove the snail, but be very careful while doing this, because broken shell pieces can stick to some part of the shell and this can cut you.
You can also…
2) Crack the shell:
For this, you don’t need to break the whole shell, just the bottom tip. And you can do this using a sharp knife, one swift slice to the tip will get the job done.
Some people do this by cracking the tip against a stone, but we suggest you use a knife, it is faster.
Now after you’ve cracked open the tip of the shell, use a pointy object (like a nail or a tiny rod) to push the snail out the other end, sometimes you might find it a bit difficult to push, but not to worry, just use a fork or if you’ve got a tool like a pincher or tweezers to pull the snail out the other end.
3) Using hot water:
There are two ways to using hot water to remove your snail from its shell
The first is for you to boil enough water, transfer the water into a bucket, add enough salt, put the snails in the hot water, and cover the bucket immediately.
After some minutes (5 minutes or thereabout), open the lid and replace the hot water with a cold one to cool the snails, drain the cold water, and begin removing your snails from their shells.
This particular method makes it so easy to pull out the snails from their shells.
The second way is to boil the snails in a pot with plenty of salt for some minutes (15-20 minutes), at some point, you begin to notice the snails crawl out of their shells.
Removing the offal
Now that you’ve successfully removed your snails from their shells with ease using one of the three ways, the next step is to remove the offal.
What is offal?
Offal is the internal organs of a snail such as; the intestine, heart, stomach, kidney, liver
You don’t need any special tool to do this, just your hand will do.
The next step in processing your snails is…
Removing the Slime
This is one part of snail processing most snail farmers find…the perfect word to use here is…YUCKY! So they just rush through it, which is wrong! Why? A snail’s slime is lethal to the stomach. Hence, when it comes to removing slime from your snails, you have to do it really well, unless you will be giving your customers, snail meat harmful to their health, and this is one sure way to lose them.
There are many ways you can go about removing the slime from your snails, but there’s one that works super well for us at NGsnails and it’s a combination of salt and lemon, this combination not only gives our snails a squeaky clean feeling (that feeling you get when you rub your finger against your teeth after you must have brushed it well), but it also gives our snail meat a crunchy taste our customers cannot seem to get enough of.
How do you use this combination to remove the slime from your snails?
- After you’ve removed the offal, put your snails in a bucket, add plenty of salt, don’t add water yet (this makes the process more effective), then rub your snails against each other like you’re kneading or washing clothes with your hands.
- You would see the slime begin to come out (like one big lump) get rid of it and repeat rubbing your snails together till most of the slime is out.
- Now split the lemons into two halves, squeeze the juice on the snails and stir with your hands to ensure the juice gets to every part of your snails, don’t discard the squeezed part of the lemons because you’ll be using it as a sponge to scrub every part of your snails
- Use a sharp knife to cut open the tongues of the snails and scrub with the lemons. By this time, most of the slime is out.
- Pour some water in the bucket to rinse the snails, drain the water, and add a clean one. Repeat the scrubbing process and keep washing with clean water at every point till the water becomes clear without the milky, whitish color of the slime, this is an indicator that your snails are slime-free. To be extra sure, touch your snails to feel that squeaky cleanse we mentioned earlier.
Well, that above is how you effectively process your snail meat and not get tagged as a snail farmer who sells snail meat that upsets the stomach.
READ ALSO: Snail Meat a Blessing To Your Health Or A Myth?
How to Preserve your Snail Meat
What’s next after you’ve processed your snails is the preservation and we promised at the beginning of this post that we’re going to let you in on how to do that.
You can preserve your snails by…
Store your snail meat either in a can or in cellophane (a paper-like product that does not allow water to get into your processed snail) and keep in a refrigerator. This preserves the nutrients in the meat and also prevents it from getting spoilt.
The other way is by,
Oven Drying/Sun Drying:
You can also oven dry or sun dry your snail meat to remove the moisture content in the snails, this enables them to have an increased shelf-life. Ensure you do this in a neat environment to keep germs from perching on your snail meat.
There’s one other method we at NGsnails use in preserving our snails to give them a shelf-life of up to five months and we tag those snails “Grilled Sootless Snails”.
We use a unique “dry air” grilling method that helps to conserve the nutritional content of the snails while retaining the crunchiness with moisture content less than 5%. We don’t use flame or smoke to grill these snails because we know how consuming smoked food can be harmful to your health.
Imagine a world filled with less-worry? Just because you’ve got NGsnails at your fingertip; to help provide you with some healthy snail meats either you want them FRESH or GRILLED for longer shelf life. Feel free to share this article with people around you that loves to stay healthy.
Snail Farming in West Africa: A Practical Guide by Joseph R. Cobbinah