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Top Reasons To Love Slugs (Plus a Recipe to Eat Them)

Top Reasons To Love Slugs (Plus a Recipe to Eat Them)

After I posted my Slugs Must Die rant, I received so many save-the-slugs comments that I was forced to reconsider my views on the mollusk.

Yes, slugs wreak havoc in gardens, eating tender plants and salad greens. But, like all creatures, they have a rightful place in the ecosystem.

So here are 5 reasons to love slugs.

1. Slug slime has been used for centuries to treat minor wounds, skin inflammations and warts.
2. Slugs are food for frogs, snakes, salamanders, toads, foxes, raccoons, owls, robins, blackbirds, chickens and crows.
3. Slugs virtually vacuum up dead leaves and spent plants, performing garden cleanup chores.
4. Slugs eat dung, making them natural dog poop recyclers.
5. Slugs spread seeds contained in the plants and dung they eat.

Some People Eat Slugs, Too

I don’t think I’ll ever eat a slug casserole, but survivalists and others with sophisticated palates eat slugs sautéed, breaded, chopped and stewed.

Most slug gourmands, however, don’t eat them raw or whole, because slug guts can contain parasites harmful to humans, including one that causes meningitis. Gutting and cooking, some say, can solve that problem.

I’ve adapted a recipe for Stir-Fried Garden Slug, which I found on GardenWeb. No, I have not tried this (and never will) so prepare at your own risk.

Stir-Fried Garden Slug

Collect slugs from your garden. The best time to harvest slugs is at night, when they come out of hiding to eat your garden.

1. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil in a wok over high heat. When almost smoking, add fresh slugs.
2. Add salt to taste and toss quickly over high heat.
3. When the slugs are cooked and have taken on a grey, slimy creaminess, turn off the heat.
4. Season with a bit of pepper.
5. Serve over pasta, rice or quinoa.

Image credit: Christine Majul via Flickr

Read more: Nature, Conservation, Environment, Lawns & Gardens, Natural Pest Control, Nature & Wildlife, , , , ,

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Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Lisa Kaplan Gordon, creator of frugalgarden.com, is an award-winning journalist, avid gardener and fly-fisher. She lives in Northern Virginia on a half acre that always needs weeding. Please visit her on Twitter (@kaplan_lisa) and Facebook (Lisa Kaplan Gordon)

103 comments

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4:05AM PDT on Oct 18, 2014

No thanks - I'll pass!

12:36PM PDT on Sep 29, 2014

You have GOT to be joking!

4:19AM PDT on Aug 12, 2014

But, really, how are slugs different from snails? People in lots of countries eat snails, including those sophisticated Frenchies. So why not eat slugs? And by the by, I bet just about anything tastes fine fried at high heat in oil. Not sure how healthy it is, but can't be worse than fritters or French fries....

Me, well, I'm happy to let therm munch away at all my pretty plants. Slugs have a right to eat too, and if they clean up all the cat feces, well, super. Thanks, slugs!

1:24AM PDT on Aug 11, 2014

Ok...this is an outstanding DIET ARTICLE! Lost any desire to eat - SLUGS!

6:28PM PDT on Aug 10, 2014

ew!!! NO THANK YOU!

12:47PM PDT on Aug 10, 2014

I'm a vegetarian.

1:58AM PDT on Aug 10, 2014

I would never want to eat a Slug.

9:13PM PDT on Aug 9, 2014

I like the fact that they cleanup stuff in the yard like my dogs poop and garden waste but sorry , I draw the line at the thought of eating them . :(

8:00AM PDT on Aug 9, 2014

I like slugs, but not to eat :(

4:55AM PDT on Aug 9, 2014

I have eaten snails (escargots) many years ago, and, actually, liked them, esp. the garlic butter sauce. I don't know how much slugs would resemble them, though, and not certain I would want to find out. Fortunately, I am a vegetarian, now, so I don't have to think about it.

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