Festival do Caracol Saloio de 10 a 27 de Julho em Loures

Está de volta o evento por que muitos esperavam. O Festival do Caracol Saloio vai decorrer de 10 a 27 de julho, junto ao Pavilhão Paz e Amizade, em Loures.

Já é uma tradição e um ponto de passagem obrigatório para todos os amantes de caracóis. O evento irá contar com a presença de dez tasquinhas, acompanhadas de muita animação musical, nas quais poderá apreciar iguarias tão variadas como Feijoada de Caracoleta, Rissóis de Caracol, Caracoletas à Bulhão Pato, Pataniscas de Caracol, Ovos Mexidos com Caracoleta e Farinheira, entre muitos outros pratos criativos.
Artesanato e animação infantil são outras das atrações deste festival que decorre de segunda a sexta-feira, das 17h00 às 24h00, e aos fins-de-semana, das 16h00 às 24h00.
Consulte aqui o programa.
Nota: no âmbito da realização do Festival do Caracol Saloio, o parque de estacionamento junto ao pavilhão Paz e Amizade irá encerrar de 27 de junho a 1 de agosto. 

Festival do Caracol no Vale de Santarém



O Rancho Folclórico do Vale de Santarém vai realizar entre 26 e 29 de Junho a oitava edição do seu Festival do Caracol.
Além dos muitos petiscos no bar do recinto, o destaque vai para a actuação de David Antunes e a Midnight Band, no sábado, 28, a partir das 22h00.
Antes, na sexta-feira, às 17h00, a abertura do festival fica marcada pela exibição, em ecrã gigante, do jogo Portugal - Gana, a contar para a última jornada da primeira fase do mundial de futebol. A partir das 21h30 atua o duo Novo Ritmo.
No domingo, 29, o ponto alto será a mega aula de zumba, prevista para as 21h30

O primeiro pastel de nata de caracol

O pastel de nata de caracol é uma das novidades da edição de 2014 do Festival Internacional do Caracol, em Castro Marim, que regressa à Colina do Revelim de Santo António, de sexta a domingo.
Ao longo dos três dias do festival, 14 tasquinhas vão confeccionar perto de três mil litros de caracol preparado "à moda do Algarve" mas também com propostas de chefs franceses, espanhóis, italianos e marroquinos, explicou à agência Lusa a vereadora Filomena Sintra.
O evento, que vai na sexta edição a nível internacional, oferece ao público um "menu" onde o caracol é o ingrediente estrela mas onde não vão faltar a doçaria típica do Algarve, a animação de rua e um cartaz de espectáculo musicais.
O pastel de nata de caracol vai ser apresentado por um participante de Loures que se propõe a apresentar uma nova receita por ano, tendo no ano passado lançado a empada de caracol que este ano volta ao festival com a receita "afinada", explicou a vereadora.
Filomena Sinta explicou ainda que foram preparadas actividades dedicadas aos mais jovens, que incluem acções de sensibilização e informação sobre o caracol e também a iniciativa "adopta o teu caracol".
"As crianças podem levar um caracol para casa", contou a vereadora da cultura da Câmara de Castro Marim acrescentando que as crianças escolhem um caracol, dão-lhe um nome, colocam numa caixa alusiva à iniciativa e levam-no para casa.
Filomena Sintra disse que são esperados milhares de visitantes e que estão a fazer promoção para atrair visitantes espanhóis.
Aquela responsável contou que o número de visitantes espanhóis tem vindo a intensificar-se a cada edição, mas admitiu que a ideia generalizada de que o acesso ao Algarve implica pagamento de portagens não facilita a decisão dos turistas.
"Em todos os nossos materiais gráficos colocamos sempre a frase 'num Algarve sem portagens' mas mesmo assim é difícil" explicar que existem duas saídas não portajadas, comentou a vereadora.
Afirmar Castro Marim como destino dos melhores caracóis do Algarve e potenciar os produtos tradicionais, a cozinha e a cultura mediterrânicas é o objectivo da iniciativa.
O festival abre diariamente às 18:00 e a entrada no recinto e os espectáculos são gratuitos.
Lusa/SOL

CURSO: Workshop em Criação de Caracóis

A todos os que nos têm contactado sobre a realização de cursos ou workshops de criação de caracóis, deixamos esta sugestão um pouco já em cima da hora mas da qual só agora tomámos conhecimento.
Atenção que as informações devem ser obtidas junto dos promotores do evento, pelo que se aconselha que estejam ligados no facebook antes de aceder ao evento.






Chegou a época de comer caracóis !


Estão de volta os caracóis!

Todos os anos a fórmula repete-se: chega o calor e as esplanadas enchem-se de fanáticos dos caracóis. 
Um negócio sazonal, alimentado (também) à custa das toneladas que se importam de Marrocos


A época dos caracóis abre mesmo antes de abrir. Depois de um inverno à míngua, assim que surgem os primeiros dias de calor, os clientes habituais começam a perguntar por este petisco nos restaurantes e cafés. Mas só agora eles estão por todo o lado, fazendo-se anunciar com um "Há Caracóis", pespegado nas montras.
Esta é a altura em que a população se divide entre os que não compreendem a euforia em torno destes pequenos animais ("blegh!"), que se sugam com a ajuda de um palito, e os que não perdem uma oportunidade para comê-los enquanto dura a estação.
Cristina Santos Silva, 49 anos, está todo o ano à espera que os caracóis lhe caiam no prato. De maio a agosto, junta-se com as amigas todas as sextas-feiras, para satisfazer esse desejo. Entretanto, vai aproveitando os finais de tarde para continuar a petiscar com a família. Encontramo-la no Boa Esperança, em Benfica, à mesa com o seu filho António Bernardo, de 22 anos. Enquanto falamos, os dois despacham uma travessa (€8) - "há que comê-los quentinhos". E assim que a cunhada Sofia se senta à mesa, mandam logo vir outra.
Esta pequena cervejaria tem bom caracol, diz-se. Há pelo menos 28 anos, desde que Joaquim Gomes pegou no negócio, que assim é. O fornecedor traz-lhe carregamentos da zona de Fátima e, como o armazém fica na Brandoa, pode pedir-lhe mais, consoante a procura, mesmo que seja ao fim de semana. "O nacional é mais pequeno e fininho, mas também mais saboroso. Os clientes estão habituados a estes", nota Joaquim.

De Marrocos, ao preço da chuva
Já se sabe: o nosso está sempre a ser comparado ao de Marrocos, país de onde vem a maioria dos espécimes que se comem em Portugal. Francisco Conde, da Casa dos Caracóis, é um dos maiores responsáveis por importá-los, abastecendo os principais supermercados e restaurantes nacionais (a norte do Mondego ninguém quer saber desta iguaria). Só em 2013 - "um ano espetacular" - comprou cem toneladas por semana. Quando a época acaba, Francisco Conde pega na família e vai passear. O negócio, diz, "dá para vivermos todos, o ano inteiro".
Agora, está prestes a abrir a primeira casa em Lisboa, na Rua de Campolide (tem mais nove na margem sul). Trata-se de uma "superloja, que também tem take away", onde haverá caracóis crus (de €2 a €3,5 o quilo) ou cozinhados (€8,5 a dose). Ele compra-os a menos de um euro por quilo aos marroquinos. Não admira, pois, que em Portugal não haja produção de caracóis (só de caracoletas). Mónica Faria, presidente da única cooperativa agrícola de helicicultores, que apenas investe na caracoleta, explica: "Eles chegam de Marrocos ao preço da chuva. É impossível concorrer com aquele produto."
No entanto, Paulo Fragoso, da Biocaracol, dedica-se a distribuir exemplares nacionais, que são apanhados por várias pessoas nos campos da região de Santarém. E chega a vender cerca de mil quilos por semana, dependendo da qualidade do marroquino. "Esse acaba mais cedo do que o nosso, porque lá faz muito calor. Então, passo a trabalhar com o nacional", explica Vasco Rodrigues, filho do Júlio dos Caracóis, uma instituição na matéria. Neste momento, há 310 lugares na Rua Vale Formoso, perto de Chelas, à espera dos clientes habituais, que já nem questionam o segredo para tanto sucesso. "Só posso dizer que usamos uns produtos que vêm de Espanha", desvenda. De resto, é ele quem lava e coze os gastrópodes, com toda a ciência. O resultado está à vista de quem por lá passe: "A partir das cinco da tarde até às dez da noite é um mundo de gente." Com doses a cinco euros, faça-se as contas...

Petiscar sem culpa
Descansem os adictos de caracóis - desde que não se abuse nas imperiais que normalmente os acompanham, nem se mergulhe o pão no molho, estes petiscos só trazem benefícios nutricionais. Eles são:
  • Ricos em água (70 a 85%)
  • Muito proteicos (13 a 15%)
  • Pobres em lípidos (0,3 a 0,8%), mas com boa quantidade de ácidos gordos polinsaturados
  • Abundantes em sais minerais, sobretudo magnésio, cálcio, ferro, cobre e zinco
  • Dietéticos - 100g de caracóis cozinhados têm menos de 100 calorias

Luísa Oliveira (texto publicado na VISÃO 1107, de 22 de maio)

Criação de escargots no Brasil é um investimento lucrativo

Aprenda as técnicas de criação e seja um diferencial no mercado


Escargots têm baixo teor de gordura e colesterol

A criação de escargot, também conhecida como helicicultura, destinada ao comércio no Brasil é recente, data do início da década de 80. Antes disso, os moluscos eram criados como atividade meramente esportiva, por hobby. A necessidade de direcionar esse produto ao comércio é oriunda de uma demanda cada vez mais maior em relação a esse tipo de alimento, nobre e saudável. A carne de caracol é rica em diversas substâncias, como proteína, cálcio, ferro, magnésio e sódio. Quando comparada a outras fontes proteicas, ela ainda se destaca pelo seu baixo teor de gordura e colesterol.

Como criar escargots

O curso Escargots: A Tecnologia Correta de Criação, elaborado pelo CPT – Centro de Produções Técnicas, ensina como proceder com o planejamento e a instalação desse negócio, como deve ser feito o manejo e o comércio dos moluscos, além de explicar em detalhes como ocorre a reprodução e a prevenção de doenças em escargots. O professor Edson Assis Mendes e o zootecnista José Luiz Machado, ambos do Instituto de Zootecnia da UFRRJ – Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, elencam as espécies de escargots e as características que qualificam cada uma delas.

Instalações da helicicultura

Escargots são ricos em proteína, cálcio, ferro, magnésio e sódio

A instalação necessária para que a criação desses moluscos seja iniciada vai depender de diversos fatores, como a quantidade de animais que se pretende criar, o clima e o relevo do local. É imprescindível que o local onde serão depositadas as caixas de criação seja bem fechado para proteger os caracóis de possíveis predadores e para facilitar o controle da temperatura e da umidade. Mendes e Machado citam que um umidificador é suficiente para ambientes de pequenas criações. No entanto, ele pode ser substituído por borrifadores ou bicos aspersores de água.

Sistemas de criação


O professor e o zootecnista elencam e caracterizam os três tipos de criação de moluscos possíveis:
- Sistema extensivo: quando os escargots são criados ao ar livre;
- Sistema semi-intensivo: quando a eclosão dos ovos ocorre em ambiente controlado, mas os moluscos jovens são levados para o ambiente externo depois de 6-8 semanas;
- Sistema intensivo: quando os caracóis são mantidos em cativeiro.

Caixas de criação

Os animais e seus excrementos não lançam mau cheiro no ambiente de criação

As caixas de criação, segundo Mendes e Machado, devem ser mantidas a uma certa distância do chão a fim de facilitar o manuseamento. Esses pés, ou estacas, precisam ser revestidos com um “avental” de plástico ou metal para impedir que possíveis predadores tenham acesso aos caracóis e os ataquem. Essas caixas de criação, normalmente quadradas ou retangulares, não podem ser depositadas em locais que recebam incidência direta de sol e chuva. É recomendado que sejam feitas pequenas aberturas no fundo das caixas para que o excesso de água não se acumule em seu interior. A terra, escura e crivada, deve ser depositada até uma altura de 18-25 cm.

Considerações sobre a comercialização


Mendes e Machado citam as possibilidades de comercialização que podem ser exploradas pelos criadores de escargots:
- venda de escargots vivos para indústrias de conserva;
- venda de carne congelada;
- venda de pratos prontos (congelados ou não);
- venda de conchas para artesanato;
- venda de conchas para produção de ração animal;
- venda de iscas vivas para pescaria.
O mercado consumidor de escargots é formado por restaurantes, hotéis, gourmets shops, supermercados, famílias, indústrias de conserva, exportadores, decoradores, arquitetos, boutiques, indústrias de ração e pesqueiros do tipo “pesque e pague”.

No sistema extensivo, os moluscos são criados ao ar livre

Vantagens da criação de escargots

Entre as vantagens da criação de escargots, pode-se destacar a possibilidade de executarmos tal atividade em pequenas propriedades cujo manejo seja oriundo da mão de obra familiar, tornando-a menos custosa. Além disso, ela dispensa tecnologias avançadas; os animais e os seus excrementos não lançam mau cheiro; as instalações e o manejo são simples, bem como as ferramentas e os equipamentos necessários são baratos.

Por Camila Guimarães Ribeiro

Receita de Caracóis à Algarvia

Se excluirmos os produtos do mar, os caracóis são, sem dúvida, o grande petisco do verão para algarvios e alentejanos.
Há quem prefira as caracoletas (maiores e mais escuras), quem goste apenas dos caracóis (mais pequenos e com coloração castanho-amarelada) e quem misture ambos no mesmo tacho. Claro que, para muita gente, a simples ideia de comer caracóis é repugnante. Mas perca o preconceito e prove-os à algarvia, feitos com aquela simplicidade que apenas os pratos do sul possuem e que transforma os ingredientes mais vulgares em verdadeiros manjares.
Está pronto para a receita?
Idealmente, o leitor apanharia os seus próprios caracóis. Passearia, assim, pelo campo, respiraria ar puro e os odores da terra e, mais importante, saberia a verdadeira proveniência dos seus caracóis (não os apanharia nas imediações de uma ETAR, de uma estrada cheia de emissões de escapes de automóveis, etc.)
Antes de lhes apontar a panela como destino, deixaria os gastrópodes alguns dias numa caixa de madeira ou num saco de serapilheira e alimentá-los-ia com farinha de trigo ou rodelas de batata, para que perdessem o visco, as toxinas e o sabor acre de algumas ervas, aproveitando ainda para os engordar um pouco mais.
Mas o leitor não é dado a passeios pelo campo ou os únicos caracóis de que dispõe nas redondezas são produzidos em salões de cabeleireiro. Pois bem, compra-os (a medida tradicional é o litro) e salta os passos anteriores, dirigindo-se de imediato ao tacho. Começa por lavar os bicharocos em várias águas até que não haja vestígios de visco. Põe-nos na caçarola, cobre-os de água, junta-lhes com generosidade uns quantos dentes de alho esmagados com a casca e coloca-os em lume muito brando para que, com as suas anteninhas, espreitem para fora das conchas e se torne mais fácil alcançá-los. Entretanto agarra numa boa quantidade de paus de orégão (apenas os paus, já que as folhas tornam o petisco mais amargo), acrescenta-os ao tacho e tapa-o. Ao detectar que as alimárias deixam de se mover, aumenta o lume.
Espera que esteja quase a levantar fervura para lhes juntar o sal. Dois bons punhos, sem medo. Deixa ferver quatro ou cinco minutos, prova-os, corrige o sal se necessário (ou desliga o lume e deixa-os dentro da panela outros quatro ou cinco minutos para que absorvam o sal suficiente), escorre-os, serve-os e delicia-se, caçando-os com a ajuda de um alfinete, espeto ou pico de piteira.
Acompanha com cerveja ou vinho branco bem gelados e pão torrado com manteiga. Se não os provar, mais fica para nós e quem perde é o leitor. Um bom preconceito não vale, afinal de contas, um único caracol.
Nota: Claro que pode cozinhar os caracóis de outras formas, guisados, por exemplo, com chouriço e tomate, como nesta...


Receita de Caracóis Guisados à Moda de Minha Casa

Se os apanhou na natureza, deixe jejuar os caracóis durante uma semana a dez dias, para que percam o visco e o sabor de algumas ervas. Lave-os bem, em várias águas, antes de cozinhar.

Precisa de 1 kg e meio de gastrópodes, os ditos caracóis, para 4 pessoas.

  • 1 cebola
  • 1 tomate grande
  • 50g de chouriço
  • 50g de presunto, bacon ou toucinho entremeado
  • 6 dentes de alho
  • 1 copo de vinho branco
  • 3 colheres de sopa de azeite
  • sal, pimenta, piri-piri, dois dentes de cravinho e orégãos

Comece por refogar a cebola, o tomate (partidos em bocados, claro) os enchidos (em pequenos cubos) e o alho em lâminas.

Junte os caracóis, o vinho branco e outro tanto de água, acrescente os temperos excepto os orégãos, tape e deixe cozinhar lentamente (isto é especialmente importante para que os caracóis saiam um pouco das suas cascas e se torne mais fácil comê-los). No final polvilhe com os orégãos e sirva quente. Utilize um alfinete ou um pequeno espeto para retirar o caracol da sua concha e acompanhe com pão caseiro.

All about snails - 15

Land Snails in Popular Culture

The main contribution of snails to the culture of several civilizations, has been their inclusion in their food.
Land snails don’t seem to have a good stigma to them in many cultures due to the fact that they are slow. Most people associate that nature with being lazy and not good for much. The fact that the snail isn’t a lovely animal either means that it gets overlooked when it comes to art and other types of cultural remnants.
Snails are more intelligent though than many people realize. There are stories that depict them as being very strong and self reliant. Those are traits that most people would love to have. The moral of such stories is to explain even though the snail is slow it has a purpose just like every other creature out there. Yet the fact that they aren’t mystical or beautiful has lead to more stories and cultures viewing them as something bad or evil.
In fact, with many early cultures the movements of the snail were viewed as being unclean and they often even marked people with it as a sign of punishment. Yet you will find some great early writings about the snails. For example the Greeks believed that when the snails could be seen climbing the stalks it was time for the harvest to begin. This was a signal to them that it was time to reap the rewards of the foods the gods had allowed them to grow and to live from.
The Aztec believed that the snail was the moon god and that the shell was his protection. They also felt that the appearing of the snail at times and then not at others had to do with the meaning of the rebirth of the moon. Of course we now know that this has to do with them being nocturnal and searching for food at night instead of during the daylight hours.
Most of us are familiar with the works of psychologist Carl Jung. He often talked about interpreting thoughts and dreams. The analogy he refers to with snails is that the shell is the conscious thought process and then the soft part of a snail is the unconscious thought process. Not everyone buys this theory though but the analogy is one that many continue to use today.
There are quite a few references in our language today that refer to snails, but they aren’t in good light. They are meant to mean a very slow process. For example saying someone moves as the pace of a snail or that they are as slow as a snail. The other is called snail mail which refers to mailing something through the post office. We get used to e-mail which allows us instant access so we then become impatient with what takes longer to receive.
Sometimes you will notice snails in books or movies with characteristics that are quite charming. The Disney productions are great at doing this and the charm they put into them helps people to enjoy these animals more. However, they still don’t seem to get the attention or the accreditation in society as so many others.
I mean, when was the last time you saw a business using a snail as their logo? They want to give an image that people relate to in a positive manner. Unfortunately the snail just doesn’t happen to be one of them that fit into that category.  If you can come up with some creative ideas though you may be the one that is able to help change some of the mindsets that people have relating to snails in culture.

All about snails - 14

Snail Facts for Kids

bullet Snails are so diverse that there are land snails, sea snails and freshwater snails.
 There are thousands of species of snails.
bullet The “giant tiger land snail” also known, as “giant Ghana snail” is the largest land snail in the world, their length can reach up to 12 inches.
bullet Land snails secrete mucus to facilitate locomotion and reduce the friction against the ground.
bullet Snails try to get a diet that is full of calcium to keep their shells thick and healthy.
bullet Land snails have microscopic teeth! They are contained in a structure called the radula and that is composed of rows of them.
bullet The “cone snails” a family of sea snails is venomous and some of them are fatal to humans!
bullet There are around 600 different species in the family of “cone snails”.
bullet There are around 30 humans killed by cone snails, that have been registered.
bullet The sea snails breathe with gills, the land snails breathe with lungs while some species of freshwater snails breathe with lungs and others with gills.
bullet Several species of land snails are used in the cuisine of several countries and they are considered a delicacy.

All about snails - 13

Snail Habitat

Snails are quite plentiful in the world so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn they are found in very diverse habitats. Some of them are comfortable in the desert while others live in ditches and cooler climates. These include the mountain areas and even in marshes. What is often found is that land snails live in locations where there are humans around. If you have a garden then chances are you have already seen them exploring this area as well.
What you will discover is that snails species are quite abundant with thousands of them out there. Not all of them are land animals though but a large number of them are. Snails are often where you can see them if you are looking for but most of us are just too busy with our daily routine to notice them.
They don’t like to be where it is too hot but they often find plenty of solace in the shaded areas. They may live in locations where the overall temperature is hot but then just not be out much. This is why you will have to look for snails when it is cloudy or when it is nighttime. They enjoy humid locations though more than where there is just dry heat.
Some people assume that you won’t find snails living in the desert but that isn’t true. In fact there is plenty of evidence to show they thrive there just fine. They do tend to spend a great deal of their time inside of the shell though instead of outside of it. While they conditions may not be ideal, they know how to make the most of it so that they can find food and survive the heat.
Other types of land snails though live underground so you will only see them out there when it is raining and they have to come to the surface so that they don’t drown. They only live less than one inch below the surface though so it is easy enough for them to come out when the rain starts. They are able to easily move as they need to though to get through the changing weather conditions. Even though they are very slow animals by nature, they are very instinctive when it comes to their habitat and survival skills.
Snails don’t reside in just one location all the time. They tend to make their home anywhere since they carry it on their back. They don’t like extreme heat so they will find places where they can be cool. They also need to find adequate supplies of food. Of course a snail can’t move very far in a day but they do continually move most of the time to new locations.
Snails are loners but they often come into contact with each other due to the feeding grounds where they find plenty for all of them to share. This is also where they find each other for mating to occur. They aren’t aggressive in nature towards each other. Then tend to live their own existence without bothering each other.
If you take some time to observe the environment around your home, chances are you will find signs that snails live there. Most of the time they aren’t anything to really worry about. If you are planning to start a garden though they may become more of a pest at that point. You can explore options though to trap them so they don’t feed from what you have planted. It can also be fun just to identify what types of snails live in your area.

All about snails - 12

What do Land Snails Eat?

Snails tend to feed on a variety of items found in their natural habitat. What they will actually consume depends on where they live and the species of snail that they are. Some common items for their diet include plants, fruits, vegetables, and algae. Plants that are decaying are often a good meal for them. Seeking for calcium to get a thicker shell, snails usually will eat the dirt.
Most snail species are herbivores, which means they have only a plant diet, but some species are carnivores or omnivores. You will likely find snails around your garden as this offers them plenty of fresh plants and leaves to eat. If you use herbicides or pesticides on your plants you may be causing the death of many snails without even realizing it.

Snails as pests

Large numbers of snails though in a garden or even where farmers are growing crops can quickly become a serious problem. They will consume enough of what it growing to ruin the hard work that has been put into the area. If you are talking about a location where someone is growing food to eat or to sell then their livelihood is also being compromised. This is why people do all they can to prevent snails from consuming the agricultural crops that they are growing.
To be more humane, many that have gardens or farms strive to trap the snails that are in the vicinity rather than killing them. They either release them back into new environments or they will sell them as a source of food. Some of the easiest ways to trap them is to place lids from jars with beer in them in the garden.
For farmers that have too much land to do this, they have come up with another way to prevent damage to their crops. This involves placing 6 inch screens of copper that is placed in the ground. The slime from the snails doesn’t seem to mix very well with the copper and that means they will stay away from the foods that are growing. This process has been very successful.
Snails have to feed on foods that include large amounts of calcium. This is necessary to keep their shell hard and protective like it should be. When looking for food they use their powerful sense of smell to find their food. Snails can breathe through their skin and through an opening called the pneumostome visible on the right side of their bodies. (1) Snails have very poor vision so they can’t see what may be very close to them, but that is compensated with an excellent sense of smell.
Snails are nocturnal so they will be looking for sources of food during the night or during the very early morning hours. (2) They will consume more food at the colder months ahead come. This is so they can store up fat reserves to live on while some they hibernate during the winter.
When food sources are very low in the summer or spring months, they may voluntarily put their body into a state of hibernation as well. This allows them to conserve energy and not need to forage for additional food. This is a mechanism that allows them to be able to survive in difficult conditions of drought. (3)
They have a tongue that is very rough and the technical term for it is radula. They have rows of very small teeth that they use to scrap against the foods they want to consume. When you have snails as pets you want to pay close attention to their diet. If you feed them anything containing salt or sugar they will die.
They are often said to be very noisy eaters. However, the sounds you hear aren’t them consuming the food. Instead it is a part of the body called the radula which is tearing on what has been swallowed so it can find its way to the digestive tract.
(1)    http://www.pbs.org/kcet/shapeoflife/resources/snail.html
(2)    http://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/pubs/el14.htm
(3)    http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7427.html

All about snails - 11

Land Snails in Popular Culture

The main contribution of snails to the culture of several civilizations, has been their inclusion in their food.
Land snails don’t seem to have a good stigma to them in many cultures due to the fact that they are slow. Most people associate that nature with being lazy and not good for much. The fact that the snail isn’t a lovely animal either means that it gets overlooked when it comes to art and other types of cultural remnants.
Snails are more intelligent though than many people realize. There are stories that depict them as being very strong and self reliant. Those are traits that most people would love to have. The moral of such stories is to explain even though the snail is slow it has a purpose just like every other creature out there. Yet the fact that they aren’t mystical or beautiful has lead to more stories and cultures viewing them as something bad or evil.
In fact, with many early cultures the movements of the snail were viewed as being unclean and they often even marked people with it as a sign of punishment. Yet you will find some great early writings about the snails. For example the Greeks believed that when the snails could be seen climbing the stalks it was time for the harvest to begin. This was a signal to them that it was time to reap the rewards of the foods the gods had allowed them to grow and to live from.
The Aztec believed that the snail was the moon god and that the shell was his protection. They also felt that the appearing of the snail at times and then not at others had to do with the meaning of the rebirth of the moon. Of course we now know that this has to do with them being nocturnal and searching for food at night instead of during the daylight hours.
Most of us are familiar with the works of psychologist Carl Jung. He often talked about interpreting thoughts and dreams. The analogy he refers to with snails is that the shell is the conscious thought process and then the soft part of a snail is the unconscious thought process. Not everyone buys this theory though but the analogy is one that many continue to use today.
There are quite a few references in our language today that refer to snails, but they aren’t in good light. They are meant to mean a very slow process. For example saying someone moves as the pace of a snail or that they are as slow as a snail. The other is called snail mail which refers to mailing something through the post office. We get used to e-mail which allows us instant access so we then become impatient with what takes longer to receive.
Sometimes you will notice snails in books or movies with characteristics that are quite charming. The Disney productions are great at doing this and the charm they put into them helps people to enjoy these animals more. However, they still don’t seem to get the attention or the accreditation in society as so many others.
I mean, when was the last time you saw a business using a snail as their logo? They want to give an image that people relate to in a positive manner. Unfortunately the snail just doesn’t happen to be one of them that fit into that category.  If you can come up with some creative ideas though you may be the one that is able to help change some of the mindsets that people have relating to snails in culture.

All about snails - 10

Land Snails as Food, Escargots

Since prehistoric times, man all over the world consumed what they could for survival, and that sometimes included snails. In several parts of the ancient world including the Roman Empire, snails were eaten frequently. In fact, they were harvested so that there would be a huge supply of them all the time to meet the demand.
That desire to consume them hasn’t stopped there. They continue to be a huge industry for the restaurant business. Offering snails is getting usual for unusual receptions and other elaborate affairs. If you haven’t tried them, the idea may not be very appealing to you. However, you may find that your taste buds are really impressed by them.
Land snails are regularly consumed in the European cuisine. It is no secret that many people find snails to be delicious as an appetizer or as a main course. There are plenty of well known recipes out there for making them and many people do so at home. Such dishes are common in many types of fine restaurants as well.
For example in France they are very popular and they are called with the French word “Escargot”. When cooked, snails are prepared with garlic and parsley butter, added for seasoning and they are server in their own shell. They are very expensive due to the fact that they are considered a delicacy.
In Greece and Italy they are often consumed in a diversity of dishes and sometimes they are even used in sauces and poured over various types of pasta. Other countries like Spain, Portugal and Germany also consume them, where people create a variety of dishes. In the US there is huge market for Escargots where they are imported from many countries. Many of the recipes found in some restaurants are spin offs from what is cooked in the European countries.
Escargot is the common name for snails when they are to be eaten in a dish. Millions of pounds of snails are consumed around the world annually. In fact, there is even a day to celebrate it! May 24th is the National Escargot Day. Recipes like the ones below are cooked that day:
mark    Escargots Gratin
mark    Escargots in Herbed Cream
mark    Escargot a la Bourguignonne
mark    Saffron Tagliarini With Snails & Sorrel
mark    Mushroom & Escargot Soup
mark   Burgundian Escargots With Spaghetti
It is believed that snails for eating were brought to the United States (California) in the 1850’s. Either by immigrants or by consumers, but some of them escaped though and it didn’t take long for them to be all over the country.
Many people viewed them as pests which is why they don’t have any problems eating them. Instead of paying money for them, they started to harvest their own from gardens and farms. In fact, some of the farmers in California were making a nice amount of money on the side by collecting the snails and selling them on the market along with their fruits and vegetables. However, wild snails can carry deadly diseases, therefore regulations in the U.S. to sell and harvest them where established to avoid improper handling.
The most common type of snail used is the garden variety. However, if you have a garden and they are present do not try to trap them and process them yourself. This would be a great way to take care of the problem you are having with the pests harming your fruits and vegetables, but as we mentioned above, wild snails can carry a parasite that can cause meningitis.
As a note of caution it is important to mention that you need to properly cook snails before you consume them, even if they are purchased. The failure to do so can result in parasites entering the body, which have been linked to the development of meningitis. The failure to cook them properly can result in people becoming very ill. When you buy snails to cook you need to prepared them well done, so if present the parasite would be killed.
Before cooking snails, chefs put them on fasting for three days only with water and then feed them with flour and water for one week to purify them. After that, they are cooked with one of the recipes mentioned before.

All about snails - 9

Roman Snail – Helix pomatia

Description

The helix pomatia is very famous because it is the snail used in the exclusive French cuisine where is called “Escargot”. This species of snail is also known as Roman Snail, Burgundy snail or Apple snail.
As we can infer, this snail is edible and highly valued. It has been farmed and it has created an industry to supply restaurants around the world.
The Roman snail is classified as a terrestrial gastropod mollusk.

Anatomy

The Helix pomatia is an air breathing land snail that has a creamy to light brown shell with darker brown bands. The shell is almost rounded with a width of 1.2-2 inches and a height of 1.2-1.8 inches.
They have a single lung and a muscular foot that helps with locomotion. The foot contracts to produce movement and glands within it release a mucus that reduce friction with the underneath surface, reducing risks of damaging their skin.
Another important anatomy characteristic is a couple of tentacles in the head. The upper pair is used for vision, while the lower contains smell sensors.
Helix pomatia information
Roman snail in garden.

Behavior

The trail followed by the Roman snail can be easily followed because they leave behind a mark of slime, which actually is the mucus produced by the foot to ease the movement.
When a helix pomatia moves above dry surfaces, they tend to reduce the foot contact with the surface to avoid the loose of water.
Burgundy snails usually are active during night time, but they can be out on a rainy day or in early mornings, especially if it is a cloudy day.

Habitat and Distribution

This gastropod mollusk also known as apple snail is native of Europe including countries like Austria, Belgium, Germany, Romania, Sweden, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Luxembourg and most territories in the continent.
However has been moved by humans to Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas, where there is a huge industry of snail farming of this and some other edible species.
The helix pomatia habitat usually will be below 2,000 meters above the sea level in places with mild temperature and high humidity. They won’t be find in places with a lot of sun as they cannot tolerate direct sunlight or heavy rains
Roman snail Information
Roman snail or escargot

Diet and Feeding Habits

Usually the feeding activity of a Roman snail will be during the night, but you can find them during early morning hours or during rainy days. To scrap their food, the helix pomatia will use an organ inside its mouth with micro teeth called the radula.
These snails feed on a variety of plants, vegetables, flowers and leaves. However, they need to consume a considerable amount of calcium to preserve their shells as hard as possible and when they are not able to get it from their food, they will feed on some other materials which contain calcium, even soil or rocks.

Reproduction

This snail, as most land gastropods is hermaphrodite; this means that they have both reproductive organs. However, they need to mate with other snails to fertilize their eggs.  During the mating process, both snails will fertilize each other making them both able to release eggs.
The mating process can last for several hours. During that time, both will exchange “love darts”, a calcareus structure that is injected to each other.
Two to eight weeks after mating, they will lay 30 to 50 eggs in holes dug out in the ground with their foot. After 3 to 4 weeks of this, newborn snails will hatch their eggs and will appear out from the soil.
It is believed that this process can be repeated from 2 to 6 times in a year, depending on the climate conditions.

Predators

Roman snails main predators are insects, toads, centipedes, ground beetles, mice and birds, being the eggs the most attacked.
One of the major threats their have, is the continuous habitat destruction. However, they are pretty good surviving and are least concern regarding conservation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helix_pomatia
http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Helix_pomatia/
http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/156519/0

All about snails - 8

Garden Snail – Helix aspersa

Description

The garden snail (helix aspersa) is one of the best-known species of snails in the world. As all terrestrial snails is a gastropod mollusk. It is so common, that it is one of the most proliferated terrestrial mollusks.
The helix aspersa is also known with the common name of “European Brown Garden Snail”, but its scientific name is has alternative versions. Some scientist name this snail as Cornu aspersum, Cantareus aspersus or Cryptomphalus aspersus.
This species is native of Europe but it has been introduced in several parts of the world where it has become a pest for crops and gardens.

Anatomy

The Helix aspersa is an air-breathing snail, which has a single lung. They have a brownish soft body, which is usually covered with slimy mucus.
They have yellow or cream-colored shells with brown spiral stripes. When a snail is old enough, a lip is formed at the edge of the shell aperture. The shell of this species has a height of about 1-1.4 inches and a width of 1-1.5 inches.
The garden snail has a flat muscular organ called a foot that helps it move with a gliding motion helped by the release of a mucus to reduce friction with the rough surface.
This mucus is the reason why snails leave a wet trace of slime when they move around.
Garden Snail Facts
Garden Snail or Helix aspersa

Behavior

Garden snails are mainly active during nights or early mornings when the sun is not shinning, however they can be active during cloudy or rainy days.
Some Helix aspersa hibernate during winter months, especially when they are mature, but they return to activity with the spring.
They are extremely slow as their fastest speed is only 1.3 centimeters per second.

Habitat and Distribution

The Helix aspersa was originally found in the British islands, western Europe and the Mediterraneo, reaching some regions of north Africa, and the middle east.
However, this snail has been introduced to several places where they have become agricultural pests. These places include the United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and some others. This snail has arrived to these places either by accidentally hidden in plant or vegetable shipments or intentionally imported for some purpose.

Diet and Feeding Habits

Garden snails are herbivorous and feed on several kinds of fruit trees, garden plants, crop vegetables and some cereals.
Snail mouth is beneath its tentacles and it has a toothed ribbon called the radula, which is used to fragment its food. This structure is exclusive of mollusks and most of them have one.
Helix aspersa Facts
Close up to garden snail on green background

Reproduction

Like other gastropod mollusks, the Helix aspersa is hermaphrodite; this means that it has both male and female organs. However, mating is required for fertilization, even tough self-fertilization is possible for this species.
The mating process is complex and interesting. After some pairing and courtship, this species start the mating process that can last from four to twelve hours and usually includes the exchange of a love dart, a kind of calcareous arrow with a purpose still unclear.
During the mating process they fertilize each other and they both will lay around 80 eggs 3 to 6 days after the mating occurs. To deliver his eggs, each snail will create a nest digging a hole in the soil with its foot. The nest will be 1 to 1.5 inches deep where the eggs will be delivered.
Gardens snails are able to deliver up to six batches of eggs in a single year. Each newborn, will take one to two years to mature.

Predators

Garden snails are food source for some animals like lizards, frogs and worms. Predatory insects and other species of snails will also eat garden snails.
Some birds, especially ducks will feed on these snails.

Relation with humans

This species is edible and it is sometimes used for cooking, although it should not be confused with the helix pomatia, the “Escargot”.
Although is considered a pest in most places, it has acquired popularity in the cosmetic industry because the regenerative properties of their mucus.

http://www.arkive.org/garden-snail/helix-aspersa/
http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/gastro/brown_garden_snail.htm
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r107500111.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helix_aspersa
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