How can you tell which kind of snails are edible?
Start this process by accepting my invitation to visit me for a nightcap any night after 8 pm in my Seattle suburb. I will sit on my north-facing concrete front steps and snag the snails that slither under my feet on their way to crawl up the siding; you can perch on the 18" retaining wall that rings the flower bed to the west and lie in wait for the snails and slugs that come out from under the rocks. I have hundreds of them and you're welcome to harvest them all.
I have a mind to overnight a crateful to pierino, but I don't have a permit to ship livestock across state lines. This is an exact quote from his submission to this week's contest: "What? You don’t have snails in your pantry? Grow up!" http://www.food52.com/recipes...
For what to do after collecting them, go here:
Of course the simplest method is to just buy a can of helix snails but there is something great about being served fresh, garlicky escargots that you have to hold with special tongs while you pry them out of their shells. Foraged snails do need to be purged for a period of time---God knows what they've been eating up to and including pesticides.
Maybe Betteirene has a recipe for those banana slugs that abound in the Seattle area.
When I lived in San Diego, we found tons of them in a vacant lot next door. We caught them and isolated them in a box. Fed them cornmeal for a week, and then cooked them. DELICIOUS!
Mine got very fat on bell pepper seedlings. I called them bad words I killed them. I did not eat them.
Growing up we always had a bucket of cornmeal next to the back door and every weekend my great grandmother would remove all the snails and do her garndening and collect new snails for the bucket. Then she would come in with her bounty from the garden and start preparing dinner. Guess what the appetizer was? That's right, yard snails! I don't remember her being picky at all about what kind. If it moved in her yard it was food!
I love the use of the word "Caught" when referring to snails. It's like you where sneaking up on them before they could get away.