Congo Meat!

Banned: The animals are prohibited in the U.S. because they can carry parasites that are harmful to humans. They a perfectly legal to sell in much of the rest of the world, however, including Britain

In July, 2014, sixty seven living snails were reportedly discovered inside a passenger’s luggage at a United States airport and guess what? These Molluscs were banned for carrying parasites harmful to humans.

After being inspected by federal agents the snails were reportedly killed by incineration. Inspectors at the  Los Angeles International Airport were said to have seized the unusually slimy package, which contained 67 giant African land snails, known to be  a popular delicacy across West Africa – Nigeria is a perfect example!

Well, reports say the snails were  sent to a person in San Dimas, California.

Spokeswoman for the U.S. Customs and Border protection,  Lee Harty made this known. The snails were however confiscated even as a sample was later sent to a federal mollusk specialist in Washington, D.C., who identified them as a prohibited species. 

 

Harty said The U.S. Department of Agriculture incinerated the snails after they were inspected adding that  the snails were seriously harmful to local plants because they eat any kind of crop they can get to. 

Snails are generally legal in most of the world – and even a delicacy in Nigeria, the most populous black nation in the World.

Molluscs are amongst the largest land snails in the world and can grow to be up to 8 inches long.

Native to Africa, reports say these slimy animals can live for up to 10 years.  

The arrival of the rains usually gives birth to snails in large numbers. Snails are known by their shells which are usually hard, thick or light. Their soft silky, slimy body is the edible part.

This slogan ‘One man’s food is another man’s poison’ is a general slogan that tends to drive home the message about mollusks, which are replete in the market and have even become a luxury today!

To some it is a taboo, especially because of its slimy nature, but to others, it is an enjoyable culinary delicacy.

FACTS ABOUT SNAILS

*     Snails, order wise known as black meat or congo meat, are  soft muscular creatures embodied in alluring shells, whose meat are rich in protein, iron and calcium.

*   The shells as  zinc repository are said to be good for weight loss.

*   These soft muscular creatures embodied in alluring shells, belong to the mollusc family.

*   Botanically known as achatinoidea.

*   All over the world, this black meat is a delight –the french know this meat as escargot, Australians call it abalone, while many parts of Africa simply tag it congo meat.

*   Snails are relished  countries like Spain, the Philippines, Morocco, Algeria, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Belgium, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cyprus, Malta and parts of the US.

*   Snails, although they look disgusting, are known for their unique and flavoured delicacy.

*   There are different kinds of snails, infact almost a thousand kinds of snails! These include the fresh water snails, land snails, sea snails, limpets and peri-winkles, otherwise known as isam amongst others.

*   Others edibles mullusks are clams, oysters, abalones, scallops, mussels etc. This is just to mention a few, although the most common in the Nigerian  markets are the land snails and the sea snails.

Nutritional Value of Snails

*   The consumption of snails helps to tone the nerves, lower blood pressure, normalize temperature and prevent vascular diseases.

*   Elderly people, who are advised not to eat red meat will find a good alternative in snails.

*   Snails are high in protein and other essential nutrients.

*   They are are also high in a number of vitamins and minerals.

*   At 3.5 milligrams per 100g, snails are said to be actually higher in iron than beef and provide nearly half of RDA.

*   Like beef, snails are high in potassium (382 milligrams) and high in magnesium (250 milligrams) even when compared with chicken, pork, beef or fish.

*   Snails are a great source of the valuable lectin, they possess anti-cancer properties and help in boosting the immune system and fighting against cancerous cells.

*   The snail slime is said to be extremely rich in allantonin, collagen and elastin, which is beneficial for the treatment of skin diseases and broken bones.

*   Reports say snails contain only two grams of carbohydrates .

*   Snails don’t contain much fat either with only 1.4 grams being the average.

*   They are high in cholesterol which are not  bad per-say when consumed in the right quantities.

PREPARING SNAILS

 Care must, however, be taken in preparing snails. Wash the snails with alum, lime, lemon or salt – these help to clean off the slime and purge the meat of parasites embodied within the meat.

To enjoy snails, purchase them alive, leave them for some days when the excreta and dirt would have cleared from their bodies. Clean, cook and relish the good taste of these congo meat recipes. 

Giant African land snails are considered a delicacy in much of West Africa, especially Nigeria.

The big snails are commonly served as finger food in Nigeria, but they must have washed  thoroughly to ensure all parasites are killed.

 See some of these snail recipes!

SNAIL STEW

Recipe for 4 servings:
10 large snails
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
2 medium size onions (chopped)
5 tomatoes (chopped)
3 green pepper (chopped)
seasoning and salt to taste.
Method:
*   Clean the snails thoroughly with either alum or lime.
*   Cut the muscles into large chunks. Saute the garlic in the oil with the chunked snails for 5 minutes.
*   Add the tomatoes, salt, seasoning, pepper and onion.
*   Add a little water, cover and simmer the snails until tender.
*   Add the green pepper.
*   Cook for another 10 minutes.
*   Remove from heat and serve with white  rice or boiled yam.

FRIED SNAILS IN SPICY SAUCE

Recipe for 4 servings:
8 large snails (dressed)
1 medium size onion (sliced)
5 large tomatoes (ground)
1 teaspoon of dry pepper
seasoning and salt to taste
2 cooking spoons vegetable oil
Method:
*   Boil the snails, adding half of the sliced onion.
*   Heat the oil in a pot until it smokes.
*   Add the onion, tomatoes, pepper and salt.
*   Fry for some minutes, add the boiled snail and fry for another 5 minutes.
*   When ready, it can be served along side cold juice or smoothie.

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