There are three types of people in the world: those who love snails, those who don’t and those who don’t know what they are missing! This write up is for group #3.
I didn’t grow up eating snails. I did not know what I was missing! I tasted snails for the first time when I went to Baptist High School, Buea for my High School education. I suspect hunger had everything to do with it. Long story short…I have been hooked ever since.
The giant African snail (aka Congo meat, aka nyama-ngoro) is a non-conventional meat enjoyed by many in some African countries including Cameroon. Some people don’t eat snails because they are either turned off by the slimy nature of the snails before they are washed and prepped or the sometimes unsanitary places that snails can be harvested from. More and more people are now cultivating snails in an effort to solve this problem. The snails I eat and highly recommend are from the Urban Farmers Association (UFA). The UFA snails are pre-cleaned, packaged and made ready for the pot. Works for me!
Being the questioner that I am, I went looking up information on the nutritional benefits and found some very interesting and quite frankly surprising information. Since “Congo meat” is usually used as a substitute for beef in many dishes, I compared the calories, macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrate) and some vitamins and minerals content per 100-gram (3.5 ounces) of snail and beef.
|Beef||250||26||15||0||2.6 mg||21 mg|
|Snails||90||16||1.4||2||3.5 mg||250 mg|
- Snails are low in calories. A 100-gram serving of snails provides only 90 calories.
- Snails are high in protein. A 100-gram serving supplies about 16 grams of protein. Calorie for calorie, this compares very well with beef. You will get more protein for your calorie bucks eating snails than beef.
- Snails are significantly lower in fat. This makes snails a very good source of lean protein.
- What I was very surprised to find out was that snails are good source of iron! Even more surprised that it was a better source of iron compared to beef! The recommended daily intake (RDI) of iron is 18 mg. Women and teenage girls especially stand to benefit greatly from this.
- I was also surprised about the Magnesium content. A serving of snails supplies more than 10 times the amount supplied by the same amount of beef. The recommended daily intake (RDI) of Magnesium is 420 mg. Magnesium is a mineral that helps with energy production, proper functioning of nerves, muscles and many other parts of the body
If you are trying to lose weight, substituting snails for red meat can be a good idea because they are good sources of proteins but low in calories and fat. In addition to the health benefits, snails are cheaper than any red meat. Lastly, they taste pretty dang good!!
If I convinced you and you will like to try, contact UFA. They will deliver to you at no extra charge.
I reached out to some of my peeps for some tips on how to prepare this special. Basically, snails can be cooked in the same way as you cook beef. Peppered snails are my favorite.
Here is a simple recipe:
One pound large snails
Maggi to taste
1 tsp White pepper
1 small thinly sliced Onions
1 cup thinly sliced Bell Peppers
Habanero peppers to taste
1 tsp minced Garlic
1 tbsp ground Ginger
Herbs of your choice (basil, parsley, leeks)
About 6Fresh tomatoes
Prepare all ingredients. Thinly slice onions and bell peppers. Chop tomatoes. Blend together ginger, garlic and hot peppers in a food processor or blender or grinding stone. Chop herbs.
Place cleaned snails into a pot of lightly salted water. Cook for 3-5 minutes and then rinse. Return snails to pot. Add Maggi cubes, white pepper, ginger, garlic, a tablespoon of oil Add about a cup of water. Cook for an additional 20 minutes until all water evaporates.
In a separate pot, lightly sautee onions and bell peppers in another tablespoon of olive oil for a few minutes, then add tomatoes. Add enough water to create a saucy stew. Add cooked snails from above. Cook until snails are tender for an additional 10 minutes. Add chopped herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning. Enjoy with some steamed green veggies to keep the calories low.