SNAILS HAVE MANY NAMES ACCORDING TO CULTURES, ETHNIC GROUPINGS, TRIBES AND DIALECTS:
Snails are one of those harmless creatures God in His Infinite wisdom created for the purposes of helping humanity. Snails can be found in any countries of the world and they enjoy eating both fresh and decaying leaves.
Many of us may not have had the privilege to look at the life of snails to lean their ways. In my own native Igbo language, We say, "Ejile neji ireoma aga na ogwu"
The English interpretation is that snails have the natural tendency to walk on thorns without any fear of harm or molestation. In other words, snails can easily climb over thorns like those of Rose plants without any injury when other creatures might got stung by the thorns.
Then the real Igbo wise saying and moral means that: One can win or solve difficult problems or win through any odds by immitating the gentle manners of snails; or by mere being honest, truthful, and gentle but not by being arrogant, proud, boastful or antagonistic!
This gentle, harmless natural habitat is called "Ejile" in Igbo tongue. The French people call it "Les Escargot" and it is also generally known as "Congo Meat" in Nigeria. I must be frank, I don't know why and how they got that name. During my researches, I asked over 20 people how snails got their 'Congo meat' name but nobody could explain.
IT IS TRADITIONAL, CUSTOMARY IN NIGERIA FOR YOUNG ONES OR CHILDREN AND THEIR MOTHERS TO GO SNAIL HUNTING IN THE NIGHTS MANY YEARS AGO.
It sounded incredible when I told my children how we used to go snails' hunting in our respective villages at nights. I personally enjoyed the 3 times a week snails hunting trips and adventures.
This is true and I ate, and made money by selling my scooped big or giant snails. We formed several groups made up of about 20 and 5 in each group. We ran several competitions as well.
We normally leave for snails hunting after 12 am. We always start from the bushy gardens, banana and plantain allotments and then into huge forests and shrines by 1.am. We had improvised local plant barks that we light and they give us bright naked flames for hours. We normally finish hunting by about 3-3.30 am.
We usually carry baskets for the snails hunting. Each person can boast of scooping at least up to 30-50 big and small snails at one night. Any body who had up to 60 wins a prize of extra 10 being a collection from other members.
We used to go snais hunting 3 times a week and that was how I made my pocket money. I had a friend who had a small restaurant and he pays me well and I never asked my parents for pocket money during my early days in the Igbo village.
It is true that many cultures have enjoyed eating snails over the centuries but little did the eaters know that snails have astounding, tremendous and amazing health benefits.
Many years ago in Nigeria, snails were regarded as poor peoples delicacy because they are easy to find and use in making soups. But today, you have to pay a lot of Naira or even dollars to have 4 big snails on your platin any Nigerian restaurants, hotels and beer parlours.
Many years ago, chicken, eggs and goat meat were not within the reach of poor people hence they depended on snails as the main source of protein.
NUMEROUS HEALTH BENEFITS OF SNAILS:
Hippocrates documented the health benefits of snails in the Ancient Greece civilization. As at that time, experiments, conducted showed that snails mucin was beneficial in healing skin and reducing scarring. As of today, modern Researchers have proved that Hippocrates was correct, and snail serum has been found to contain both anti-inflammatories and antioxidants.
"Snail secretions are alleged to contain a copper peptide which is thought to be the only natural sources of a substance usually manufactured to assist in making creams which help minimize scarring"
It sounds unbelievable but it is true that snails- Congo meat, 'les escargot' have more health benefits than we otherwise thought.
An average Snail is comprised of 80% water, 15% protein, and 2.4% of fat which is primarily healthy fat. A snail contains essential fatty acids, calcium, iron, selenium, and magnesium are also found in snails.
They are rich source of vitamins too and highlly and incredibly packed with vitamins E, A, K and B12.
Snails are an ideal weight watchers diet because they are good sources of proteins but low in calories and fat. Imagine for a 100-gram serving of snail, you have about 90calories.
An average snail also contain a glycoprotein which is believed to contain cancer-fighting properties. The mucous exuded by these creatures contain a copper compound which helps in healing after an injury or scalding and also helps in preventing heart disorders.
In addition to all these health benefits, snails are tasty, juicy, delicious nutritious and cheaper than any red meat. Snail farming, can make any villager rich if he knows how to rear snails. Snails farming is relatively cheaper in Nigeria than chicken or fish farming. I wonder why many people in Nigeria have not considered establishing snails farms instead of fish.
Such farms are easy to set up and do not take time before the farm starts to yield some profits. Snails farms can help many people "reduce nutritional deficiency". You now know the health benefits of snails. You can prepare it in any form and as well eat it all alone or put them in soups, fry, cook, boil and eat with all sorts of vegetables and foods. Happy yummy yummy! Healthy eating diet advice!