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