You may or may not know this but the petis gris or escargot that gets served up in French bistros across France and the rest of the world is none other than your regular Helix aspersa. That's the common brown snail to you and me and I've often thought about gathering some to cook at home so this seemed like a marvelous opportunity. I've garnered some information from the internets and the whole process looks to be quite simple. The most important thing to do is to make sure you purge* them and in particular make sure that they haven't ingested any pesticides. If they have taken anything toxic on board they will die within a day after collection which seems to be an easy indicator. If they don't die then they will happily survive on a diet of water which will clean their systems out and after four days will be ready to cook and eat. However you can also carry on feeding them on herbs and cornmeal for up to two weeks to fatten them up. You then put them on a water diet for two days for a final purge. This is what I have read anyway.
At the moment I've got a dozen Brians tucked away in a large Tupperware box (with air holes) in the shed, lounging around on a bed of lettuce and water. I'm not entirely sure what route to go yet, the four day liquid diet or the 2 week super sizing but when I had one last peek before leaving for work, at least 4 of the blighters were engaged in some kind of carnal activity. I think they know the end is near and making the best use of their love darts in an orgiastic frenzy. Well you would wouldn't you if the world was nigh. I shall let you know what I do with them but if in the meantime anyone has any tips or words of wisdom, I shall be very grateful.
A dozen escargot s'il vous plait
Brian and chums are gonna get it
*purge = make sure they have a good ol' crap