Team Escargot – Let the purging begin!

June 18, 2009 | By | Comments (11)

I found a bunch of snails huddled together in the garden and scooped them up in my hand before the sole of my boot could get to them.

Let the fun begin! I’m following Sunset’s instructions from 1988, and the first step is to purge them for at least 4 days. This clears their systems from any toxins that might be poisonous for human consumption.

Here I am, such a proud mother, checking them out in their new setup, complete with watering dish:

Their home will need to be cleaned every other day (but they’ll survive the weekend, don’t you think?) and then they can be fattened up by adding a few teaspoons of cornmeal.

Clockwise from top left: Snaily, Shelly, Shelli, Chelle, Mishell, Rachelle, and Shelby
(Hey – they named the chickens and, though they might be in denial,
we will eventually eat them too.)

Last step: covered in several layers of cheesecloth and secured tightly with a rubber band.

My favorite part of the Sunset article: “Check daily and discard any dead snails. Scratch the snail’s foot to check: if it doesn’t twitch, the snail is dead.” I never thought of their underside as a foot. I like it!


  1. Aubree El Monte

    When do you plan to eat them and what is your recipe? By the way, I just loved the names that you have given to these snails. Chelle is the most beautiful among all of them.

    October 8, 2015 at 1:49 am
  2. Hank

    Funny. In Sacramento the snails have long since hibernated. What’s more, I was going to collect them two winters ago and purge them with lettuce and cornmeal — but no sooner than I said that then the snails disappeared from my garden entirely. What were they, bugging my kitchen? Geez…

    June 24, 2009 at 8:32 pm
  3. pedroza family

    i found a store off rosemead in south el monte that sells live snails! I might buy those and just follow the recipe from there.

    June 24, 2009 at 8:16 am
  4. Johanna Silver

    I’ve not heard anything about dianthus leaves! And I’m totally going to find that story to read!

    June 23, 2009 at 7:42 pm
  5. Patricia

    Have you read Madeleine Kamman’s tale about how she, as a child, allowed the snails get loose in the house? Great story.

    June 23, 2009 at 2:00 pm
  6. KathyG

    better youse than me…… 🙂

    June 22, 2009 at 3:57 pm
  7. pedroza family

    yikes, that’s one thing i’ll take your word on.

    June 21, 2009 at 4:02 am
  8. CJ

    I have to admit Team Chicken is one reason for the hens in my backyard but I’m not particularly planning to get fired up about snails.

    I do feed them to the chickens though!

    June 21, 2009 at 2:35 am
  9. Lori

    i read a great book sometime in the last several months that described snails being purged in france years ago .. it was fascinating. i wish i could remember which book!

    June 19, 2009 at 10:23 pm
  10. forest

    Is there any truth to using dianthus leaves to purge snails?

    June 19, 2009 at 1:14 pm
  11. Holly

    I will keep checking in but, I don’t know about this. It seems kind of nasty. I thought escargot were from a different snail???

    June 19, 2009 at 1:47 am

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