Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

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2 Oct 2012

What to do with this year’s bumper harvest of snails … snail soup?


I am indebted, I think, to Massimiliano Rupalti, aka. Rupo, who I met on my recent trip to Italy, who just sent me his grandmother’s recipe for making snail soup.  Following my recent post about The Four Slugs of the Apocalypse, it offers a useful way to turn a problem into a solution.  I am assured that this is quite delicious, although personally the final line of the recipe, “keep cooking for at least an hour or till the sauce becomes dense”, makes me feel somewhat queasy.  If you try it, do let us know how it was.  Thanks Rupo.

Snails soup ‘alla urbaniese’ (grandma’s recipe)

Once gathered the snails (only big ones) we need to leave them in a closed basket for at least 10 days and not more than 15 days. This is on the purpose to purge the snails, preventing them eat. Wash with clean water every now and then.

  • Boil the snails for 2-3 minutes and extract them from their shells cutting off the part in the bottom which connects the snails to their shells (because is too bitter)
  • Put the snails into water with salt and vinegar for 10 minutes and then wash thoroughly
  • Put the snails in a pot with olive oil and cook them till they get dry enough
  • Add plenty of herbs, i.e. Wild fennel, (Wild) Marjoram, Wild mint, Parsley, Sage
  • Add plenty of tomato sauce and keep cooking for at least an hour or till the sauce becomes dense.

Enjoy it!

Categories: Food

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Bill Campbell
2 Oct 12:07pm

Yum, snail soup. I wonder if you could season and dehydrate them after removing from the shells. Snail jerky anyone?

2 Oct 12:42pm

mmh, I suggest you not to try…

I’d like to add that, in fact, a snail soup tastes almost like a sea snail soup.

I apologize to those here, like Rob, who are vegetarian or vegan, but, you know, resilience has often very bizarre ways to manifest itself :-)and this is one of the ways my land was resilient some 60 years ago. We used to gather everything was in Nature, both vegetal and animal, to get some food. And, in a certain way, we still do so. We live just beneath the mountains, with few fertile soil and lots of wilderness (so far..). So, we mantained a sort of connection with our hunters and collectors ancestors. The snail soup is one of these connections.

(I did not expect my grandmother’s recipe to be posted, i was surprised, thanks to you, Rob 🙂 )

gael bage
2 Oct 4:32pm

Sadly I will pass on this one because my ducks devour the snails first ! I think I will stick to nettle beer or quiche thank you.

2 Oct 6:34pm

Is this slow food then?

Rob Hopkins
2 Oct 10:55pm

Very good David….!

9 Oct 3:42pm

My great-grandmother was (apparently) quite famous in her village in north Italy for her snail ragout. My grandfather used to have to go look for them in winter (as before they hibernate they have already purged themselves) – so you don’t have to clean them so much. She used to use them like little meatballs.

Graham Burnett
19 Oct 5:47pm

I read in Permaculture Magazine once that you can make trousers out of dehydrated slugs…

Dave Hampton
2 Nov 11:42am

Gosh. The headline to this article really (really) grabbed my attention. I clicked thinking the ‘Snail soup?’ was a joke… but i was curious to find out. Then i noticed myself having all sorts of highly bizarre quite intense (habitual?) bodily / emotional reactions: disgust (but le degustation means something else!) alarm, fear of snails, fear of eating foul tasting stuff, anxiety and fear of the reaction of strict vegans and animal rights campaigners, and then ultimately compassion for the poor little buggers who are being hosed down in a basket for 10-15 days with no food to ‘purge’ them. Too much empathy briefly. (Or was it my fear / terror of being forced to fast) Anyway, i have no idea if those random weird personal reactions of mine resonate with any of you. Better out that in i say.
Oh and to finish i must say i enjoyed Massimiliano’s comment:-
“but, you know, resilience has often very bizarre ways to manifest itself and this is one of the ways my land was resilient some 60 years ago”