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Are slugs edible?

They can get pretty amazingly large in the Northwest.

Escargots sans cloche anyone? (Pardon my Franglish).

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  1. We are having record rainfall in Maine and slugs are decimating our garden. We hand pick hundreds every day. I've thought of cooking them battered deep fried, but don't know if they are edible. If the birds don't eat them, what does that say? Maine escargot???
    Thanks for the post, I'm eager to know the answer.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Passadumkeg

      You said some of your slugs were 2-3 inches long and we have those sizes in British Columbia. The get to over a half inch in diameter.
      I would sure like to know if these can be as tasty as escargot. I get tired of eating trout, salmon, oysters and fresh seafood all the time...

      1. re: Scargod

        Oh Scargod, just shoot me already!

        For what it's worth, we had a small backyard flocks of hens for several years. They always pecked a few leaves off the basil and other herbs as they walked by on their daily backyard outing, and ate some caterpillars and other bugs we threw them. I gave one of them a slug once. She looked at it for a long time, pecked at it a couple of times, thought about it, and then wiped her beak on the grass. That was good enough testimonial for me.

        1. re: EWSflash

          """[the hen] looked at [the slug] for a long time, pecked at it a couple of times, thought about it, and then wiped her beak on the grass.""""

          LOVE it! {;^D.

        2. re: Scargod

          Here is a pic of a slug from BC, Canada. About the size of a medium cigar if straight.

          1. re: Scargod

            uhhh . . . I think that qualifies as a snail (not a slug)

            1. re: vday

              Yea, I know, it's me, not a slug. I DID have a post with picture posted here. The first try did not upload the picture. ANother post had the picture; now it's gone.
              I do not know what the hell is going on with Chowhound. Uploading pictures is so quirky. Perhaps it was censored since it was a naked snail?

              1. re: Scargod

                Thanks Scargod . . . Chowhound is obviously trying to stamp out naked mollusk photos . . .

                BTW, snails and slugs are surprisingly far apart on the evolutionary tree . . . they diverge after the "Order" classification - presumably they can't interbreed (ooops, better stop or I'll be censored as well!)

      2. And so early in the morning too.... anyway, here's a page from a Q & A from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History which might answer your question. Seems that some are, indeed, edible.... perish the thought. (O_O)


        2 Replies
        1. re: Gio

          Thanks, but what happens when you salt them?

          1. re: Gio

            Hmmm? Seems like with all the peeling, slitting and cutting there wouldn't be much left anyway.

          2. My guess is if they were, they'd be on a LOT of restaurant menus. I've never seen them. But if someone wants to try them, let us know how it goes. Oh, and I suspect you need to "cleanse" them before eating, just as you do with snails. You put them in a dishpan with a box of cornmeal or two in the bottom, cover with a screen and a brick and let them gorge for a few days. By then, they should have excreted all of the pesticides and bad stuff they've eaten. But I don't know if they're toxic all on their own. Let us know!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Caroline1

              Grubs are edible but I don't see them on any menus. Just not something that would appeal to the western palate er... mind.

              Market it well and you never know

            2. Gross-out warning.

              I had wondered the same. At my local golf course in Cheshire UK if you were out while the dew was still on the ground there were these large black and brown slugs, up to about 8 inches in length. So while we were waiting on the par three 11th tee we used to have a competition. If you tapped the slugs they crunch up into something not much smaller than a golf ball. The competition was to see who could hit one the furthest. This required a delicate touch because if you used too much oomph they would burst.

              An eight iron was the best club, and you should avoid a follow through.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Paulustrious

                And here I thought "Slugger" was a nickname reserved for base ball players. Live and learn.

                1. re: Paulustrious

                  OMG add some beverages at the 19th hole and you're having yourself a good old time! LOL

                2. As part of a nature class my son got a chance to taste a slug's slime (organically fed, of course). If I recall correctly it has a numbing effect. My dog sampled a couple of slugs when he was puppy, but pays no attention to them now.

                  1. Homeless snails...marinated in beer?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: lgss

                      Sounds like a job for the Salvation Army to me.

                      1. re: lgss

                        Not even good for the compost bin. Beer is my designated slug destroyer.
                        They go with a silly smile on their slimy faces.

                      2. There was an episode on Gordon Ramsey's The F-Word where he, and his children, collected snails from his yard, fed them to get them good and big and then he cleansed them, I think by not feeding them for a couple days but not too sure. After that he cooked them up in a skillet and they all sat down and ate them! He said they were as good, if not better, than what you would get in a restaurant. So it can be done, if you know what you are doing, that is!

                        17 Replies
                        1. re: danhole

                          Our family do it here. Collect them when it's raining. Put them on a bed of sawdust for two days. Then cook them.

                          1. re: Paulustrious

                            And you are in Toronto? What color and size are they or does it matter?
                            Those we have in BC are brown and grey as I recall. I am looking for my pics of them. Kinda reminded me of cigar butts when they drew up.

                            1. re: Scargod

                              Next time it's raining, or just rained, check out if any local fields have people bent over looking for something. The ones we get here are small. I think most / all of native American land snails are fairly small. The large ones are invasive European 'pests'.

                              AFAIK no snails are poisonous. Anyway, We have survived this particular variety on a few occasions. Forget your French "au beurre" snail dish. These you serve a hundred at a time. The specimen below is by far the most common here in Toronto. I just removed it from my Irises.

                            2. re: Paulustrious

                              More info please. Scargod may be visiting soon and I want to try them out, I mean serve them to him as a special treat!

                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                Let me know if you want any of the following recipes:

                                Stir fried slugs in hot chile ginger - orange glaze
                                White wine braised slug served on arugula
                                Creamed slug and spinach
                                Slug mole
                                Slug ceviche
                                Sliced slug tempura
                                Slug & Spam fried rice
                                Grilled teriyaki slugs

                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                  How about a Slug Diablo recipe? It fits and I'll tell him it's an aphrodesiac!

                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                    Oh pahleeezzz... Presumably you Do know about the possibility of meningitis from eating those slimy creatures? Although I did read, in amazment, that the slime can be reduced by a putting the live slugs in a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar. The Dr. Pearce I referenced above says, "The solution is fatal to the slugs in a few minutes, and in the process, they exude most of their slime. Also, when you are boiling them, change the water after a minute or two to remove further slime." Dr. Pearce also points out that slugs generate more slime than snails, perhaps as a defensive measure since they don't have shells. This is really TMI.....

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      Just for good measure here's the site where I found that bit about meningitis:


                                      1. re: Gio

                                        My googling says that it is only raw slugs that cause Meningitis. So the cerviche might be a no-no. The tempura option seems the safest. I think hot smoked would be good.

                                        Try this ... http://rickshawunschooling.blogspot.c...

                                        1. re: Paulustrious

                                          I read that the good Dr. did cooked them, I didn't need to see the pictures, though. Thanks for THAT particular treat. Still does'nt convince me.

                                      2. re: Gio

                                        Joeeeee!!! The Oz guy ate the slugs RAW and got the parasite Angiostrongylus cantonensis. The same can happen from raw or undercooked molluscs or crustaceans, or contaminated vegetables or salad:


                                        I would never eat a RAW slug!

                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                          Just the same, as I patrol my garden in search of those disgusting slime machines, I'll say a slient prayer for you as you dine on your Slug & Spam fried rice. Ewwwww..... just the thought makes me shudder.

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            [Yeah, me too.... but don't tell keg and scar. I'm waiting for keg to ask for a recipe so I can make one up and see if they try it out].

                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                              Sammy Fubar, I got a great slug sushi recipe for you, look at home ooking.

                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                passa, "home ooking" seems an apt freudian typo-slip when discussing the eating of slugs!

                                              2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                Oh, that's better. For a minute there I thought I lost you.....
                                                Although, I think they'd try anything. Especially after that excursion in the southwest.

                                            2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                              Then why are you trying to pawn off a recipe for "Slug ceviche" on me? Huh, huh?
                                              I guess if slugs eat each other I should be OK. Anyway, my mouth is watering over the prospects of a big mess of slugs and panchetta.

                                              God of Scargos

                                  2. Here is a link to that recipe that Ramsay used for his garden snails. It also has a video attached.:


                                    Looked pretty tasty!

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: danhole

                                      I saw the video several months back and being an escargot fan did a little looking around for more info. What I found out was those snails like the ones in the Ramsay video can be found in California where a long time ago they had escaped from someone who imported them. They naturalized and took off. I also read that you can't find them on the east coast because conditions for their survival are not right here. Boy was I bummed. I had visions of satisfying my cravings on the cheap and unloading cleaned snails on local restaurants....

                                      1. re: morwen

                                        My first domicile in California was a cute guest house in someone's back yard in Redwood City. It came complete with a pet duck, a drake named Zelda (go figure), who spent equal time terrorizing our cats and eating the snails off the rosebushes etcetera. We'd give him some duck chow or whatever that was every day, but he must have gone through a bucket of snails after any given rain. Had I but known that those little brown guys were the edible kind Zelda might have had to stick with the duck chow...

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          So they have to be the brown ones, like were in the video? How do I find out if the ones we have here are edible or not? Not that it has rained at ALL around here, but when it does I'd like to know.

                                          This may be a really stupid question, but aren't slugs just snails without shells? If so how could you tell if they were edible. Don't mind snails so much, but slugs are very nasty looking.

                                        2. re: morwen

                                          if your vision leads to opening an escargot farm, they are apparently low maintenance, quite lucrative and decently profitable...who knew...good value as a response to 'so, what do you do?

                                          1. re: foodlvrzen

                                            As in "what am I doing now?" I run a B&B, have a glass carving business, and am converting our 2 acres into garden beds and orchard with a flock of laying hens on the horizon. I have looked into snail farming and I do think it could be easily done, but before I add that to the list I need to do research on the restaurants in at least a 30 mile radius to see if I could really unload the little buggers on a regular basis. Fortunately we are close to Blacksburg and Roanoke with some fine upscale establishments, wineries with restaurants, and lots of good quirky smaller operations that may have an interest. But until I have the other projects well in hand the snails will have to wait.

                                            1. re: morwen

                                              funny :-) little buggers; if you do, maybe include the North Carolina cities near you, and even though D.C. is 4 hours, there's so many restaurants it would be worth it once a week....but wow, you're a busy one!
                                              sidenote, have always liked the 'legend of Roanoke'

                                              1. re: foodlvrzen

                                                The Legend of Roanoke, is about Roanoke Island on the other side of the state. I'm near the city of Roanoke in southwest VA. Confusing, I know....

                                                But Charlotte, Durham/Raleigh/Triangle, and Asheville are all within 3 hours of here. D.C. is 4 1/2, and I really, really hate driving anywhere near it, let alone into it. Where I live isn't the middle of nowhere, but you can see it from here.

                                                1. re: morwen

                                                  at least there's 'only two' there in VA, otherwise could be really really fun!
                                                  ...*crosses eyes*...whew
                                                  well there you are, a great potential client target base; I definitely feel you, about driving near DC or any large city ugh, wish they would just hurry along with the affordable air hovercars already, I mean star trek was in the 60s! and the jetsons! and almost 50 years later we're STILL puttering along on 4 wheels

                                        1. re: Harters

                                          And here's the video of the Slug ep .... (click Browse videos and look for "Slug special")


                                          Gross dude ...

                                        2. Living on a New Jersey barrier island, we have hundreds of seagulls around. They will eat almost anything organic, but they won't touch a slug. Does this tell you something?

                                          1. Anyone see the sponsored link on the right...

                                            "Sluggo Kills Snails", a little too coincidental?

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: cuccubear

                                              No coincidence at all. The ads cued by the content (i.e. word recgnition).

                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath


                                                I can see it now...
                                                "I'll have the slug chowder, please. Hold the sluggo."

                                              1. Erm, too much information for me. I *love* escargot but I think that slugs would be just too far to go for me...

                                                7 Replies
                                                  1. re: Paulustrious

                                                    I have a cook book from West Africa which refers to slugs and grubs (an outstanding protein source) as "landprawns." Considering that the slimey buggers have been feasting on all of our organic home grown veggies all summer, they are probably pretty healthy and taste like carrots, basil and broccoli, you know like those Iberico Spanish pigs who only eat acorns and are so prized and delicious. ......... You all taste the little slime factorys first and report back !

                                                    1. re: missclaudy


                                                      oh, why didn't *i* think of that?!?!? brilliant marketing! ;-).

                                                      <made me think of "land shark" http://www.spike.com/video/saturday-n... -- "cleverest species of them all">

                                                      i think it is pretty important that the chickens won't even eat the slimey buggers!
                                                      someone said their kid tried the slime and it has a numbing effect? i wonder what the szechuan slugs do to you, then?

                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                        Here's one of them "land prawns", as you call them. It is on a regular, 20 pound bottle of propane, for perspective. Almost enough for a meal, you think?
                                                        Solid black ones are somewhat smaller. Location: 50 miles up from Vancouver, o the Sunshine Coast.

                                                        1. re: Scargod

                                                          holy moly, does that thing have its own car?

                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                            Yes it does have a car and look at that S car go!

                                                  2. I'd rather eat slugs than tilapia.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: missclaudy

                                                      i'm with you on the anti-lapia bandwagon!

                                                      to me, tilapia tastes like the bottom of a slimy pond in the summertime. <ok, i'm just imagining here...>

                                                    2. I know this thread was started a year ago, but wow was it an awesome and fun read. Excellent information and just plain fun! Thank you very much. I found all I need to know to start posting on my blog about this very subject. I may be trying it soon...wish me luck. Thank you very much and thank you all for the laughter, it was a blast!

                                                      1. Generally, no.
                                                        Seems tempting, I realize, but there are just too many problems.
                                                        Especially if they are uncooked.
                                                        The ultimate nightmare sushi.