So, there are a lot of slugs in the PNW. Other than killing them directly, or being sources of food for ducks, has anyone tried to eat them?
The way I look at it, humans eat snails all the time as a delicacy. Personally, I prefer snails prepared in Spain in a stew over the snails made in France smothered in butter. Slugs are basically just huge snails without shells (and more slime).
At one point, I almost published a case report on a teenage boy who ate a live slug on a dare and developed a brain parasite infection. The kid eventually did very well, but slugs can carry parasites... as can many other foods we eat. But that is why we cook most of our animal-based foods.
Great article. I fed them to my pet rat, who loved them. My sister ate them when she was a baby. Intellectually, it seems to make sense, but the aesthetics are just so foul. If I was in a war and starving, sure I'd eat them, but I can't imagine voluntarily eating them now. One value I find in dead slugs is that if I leave them smeared by my foot on a mason block, their friends are out there eating their dead buddy the next night, so I can kill them, and so on, and so on......... John S PDX OR
I think my "one step removed" eating of slugs (as runner duck eggs after natural processing in the ducks of this high protein slime) is efficient enough for me! I find it helps to train ducks in their first 10 weeks - give them some cut up slugs when they are most hungry and they develop that feeding habit forever (this also works for dandelion if you want natural weeding) Runner ducks are definitely the best slug eaters and they are great egg producers (maybe that's why they crave the extra protein?) I usually let the ducks into the fenced garden in the evening for an hour or so, and pick up extra slugs where they are heavy. These days during strawberry picking I keep a little flower pot for the slugs in the berries and the half-eaten berries. Then pouring together captured slugs, strawberry pieces, and some commercial food, those runner ducks go wild for the slugs first!
I have actually seen a video featuring a french cook preparing and cooking slugs. It was kind of an experiment, even for him, and what he found was that they had to be cleaned by placing them in lettuce for a couple of days or they're gritty. Same issue as with fresh shellfish, or worms should you care to try them. My Malay neighbor used to pickle them in a chutney like mixture and I never would never been able to tell what it was had I not been told. I think the better idea is a couple of ducks. All ducks love slugs, I mean LOVE them! They will go for slugs over your veggie patch initially at least (of course when they run out of slug, THEY will eat your lettuce, so some limited management is needed.) But converting slugs into duck eggs seems like a pretty good trade off in protein!~ I prefer Indian Runners for their superior laying, foraging ways and charming looks, but any duck will do the job.
I've eaten slugs before. During strawberry season we had to do pretty heavy slug patrols, and another worker decided to capture instead of kill one day. He put them all in a big bucket with some clover in it (the idea being to have them just eat that for a few days, and give them time to digest any possibly toxic things they ate). A week or so later, we tried a whole bunch of different preparations. Boiling in water and vinegar w/ salt seemed to work best for desliming. We tried just salting or vinegaring them cold, but didn't seem as effective. Once deslimed, the tastiest method by far was to pan-fry in butter with garlic. But you can do that to pretty much anything and have it come out good. I'm intrigued by the "clam chowder" suggestion in the link in the first post, though.
I'd have a hard time eating slugs only because of the psychological factor. My mind says" Yuck!" But rather than starve, I'd surely eat them.
While in England I met two charming elderly ladies who survived a severe shortage of food while living in occupied Europe during WWII. As young girls, one of their tasks was to collect snails and slugs for the dinner table. Their mother served them in stew of whatever vegetables they had. They said that they were rather chewy and didn't remember them having much flavor. I believe they were telling the truth, but I'll take their word on slugs being ok to eat. I still would have a hard time getting past the yuck factor.
Our Muscovy ducks will eat the flat slugs, but not the round bodied ones.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
mine would have to be hidden in some kind of tortilla and told they were some kind of truffle for me to even think about eating them. Once eaten, i could be then told what they were, and i would probably be alright.
But the thought is enought to just be a headshaker
If you ever seriously thought for a moment about eating slugs, check this youtube site out- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW5fC1X3zmM I would ALMOST try them after watching this video. Thing is, if it takes this much preparation for me to eat them, I might as well prepare them and feed them to my poultry.
It is good to know I have one more food source if things get real bad.
NOPE NOPE NOPE! Not for me. we don't have giant PNW slugs here in Maine thankfully. I think the biggest one I've seen is about two inches long. After two years of free ranging chickens, I really don't see many at all. Paul has a video where somebody is training chickens to eat slugs by cutting them in pieces and letting then hens fight over them. Once "trained" they will eat them whole, no problem. I wonder if you just sprinkle salt on them if that would make them more palatable to chickens. Either way, salt will take care of the slugs.