Whether they are fresh, frozen or canned, escargot can be made into a delicious delicacy. However, you may find yourself with too many escargot on your hands. If your escargot were purchased frozen, you should not refreeze them once thawed, as this can lead to them spoiling. Fresh or canned escargot can be safely frozen, if certain precautions are taken (although, as with shellfish, prolonged freezer storage can lead to a loss of flavor over time.)
Prepping Escargot for Freezing
If you are freezing fresh homemade escargot, please follow these steps. If you are freezing canned or ready-to-cook escargot, please skip to Section 2.
Place your live snails in a well-ventilated wooden box. The box should be raised several inches above the ground. Feed them dill for several days—this will improve their flavor.
The snails must now be purged. In addition to improving their flavor, this step also ensures that you do not have to consume the contents of the snails’ stomachs! To purge your snails, feed them nothing for five to six days.
While the snails are fasting, they should be rinsed daily with running water. Use a garden hose to rinse them thoroughly.
At the end of their fast, it is time to disgorge the snails. In a large container, lay down a single layer of snails and cover them with a handful of rock salt. Over this, place another layer of snails, again covering them with a handful of rock salt. Repeat this procedure until all the snails have been salted.
The salt will cause the snails to foam. Allow them to foam for one hour, and then rinse them completely.
Boil the snails for three minutes; then drain them.
Remove the snails from their shells using tweezers. Remove the entrails and intestines from the snails.
Brine the snails for 15 minutes in a solution of salt water. Use as much salt water as it takes to cover the snails completely. A good rule of thumb for brining is to use 1 cup of kosher salt per gallon of water. Before adding the snails to the brine, make sure that the kosher salt is totally dissolved.
Rinse the snails thoroughly and drain. They are now ready for cooking or freezing.
Wash your hands. Remove the fresh or canned escargot from its packaging (if any).
If you have enough escargot to completely fill a zip closure freezer bag, you should use this to pack the escargot. If you do not have enough escargot to fill a freezer bag, use the smallest possible airtight plastic container. Your goal is to make sure that the escargot meat is exposed to as little air as possible, as this will lessen its freezer life.
Wrap the escargot tightly in plastic wrap, and then wrap it again in aluminum foil. Try to make your wrappings as tight as possible.
Place your escargot in your zip closure freezer bag or airtight plastic container.
Place a label on your escargot freezer container and write the current date on it. This will help you to keep track of how long the escargot has been stored.
Freeze escargot for up to three months.
Escargot should be thawed in the refrigerator.
If you want to use the leftover shells from preparing live snails, rinse the shells several times in a solution of baking soda and water, and then boil for 15 minutes.
Before freezing canned escargot, check with the manufacturer to see how long they can be safely frozen.
Emily Maggrett has been writing for more than eight years. Her fiction has appeared in "Jeopardy" and "Rivet" and her journalism has appeared in "The Cascadia Weekly" and "The Western Front." Maggrett holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Western Washington University.