Egg laying, work of suspenders
Normally about 10 days after copulation, the snail will start laying eggs. For that it needs a soft substrate and a certain humidity where it will drill a tunnel of approximately 4cm. It will be buried almost entirely through that tunnel and will begin to lay its eggs.
The eggs are perfectly white, spherical and about 3 – 4mm in diameter. To lay each egg, they will need between 5 to 20 minutes. This stage is very long and exhausting for the animal, which will sometimes require 48 hours to complete its laying. The average of the lay of one Helix Aspersa Müller will be about 70 eggs.
Once the snail completes its task, it will retreat through the same tunnel, carefully covering it and then go in search of water, food and rest.
How are the eggs collected?
The eggs are collected from the substrate once the snail has left the nest. Many layings are in cluster form and others are not. This is the reason why this work is manual, meticulous and time-consuming. Once most of the peat has been removed by means of a dry sieve, these will be sifted with cold water, thus eliminating remaining peat. During this washing, the first egg selection is made.
Are all the eggs of a laying used to make snail caviar?
The eggs used by La Perla to produce their products require certain characteristics such as: white pearl color, 4mm diameter, perfectly spherical shape and maximum tonicity in their shell. Not all the eggs of the same nest are the same, so it must be carefully selected causing a loss of up to 50% of eggs.
How many snails does La Perla need to make one of its 50g jars?
Each laying weighs about 2.8 g, but due to the characteristics that are needed, it will require about 35 animals.
How to start the production of snail caviar?
The eggs are taken to the La Perla facilities. They have been designed exclusively to produce this product. Since its beginnings, they were conceived to provide maximum hygiene and practicability during the manufacturing process.
Inside, the eggs receive an exhaustive disinfectant wash that allows to eliminate possible contamination coming from the farm. Once that wash is finished, the eggs are dipped in a salty broth to cure the product. This brine will also be responsible for ensuring the durability of this products freshness. Each company develops its own elaborate recipe and safeguards the secret.
Is it true that there are secret recipes?
La Perla, like other producers, creates their own master recipes for production which require a lot of patience and development time. That is the reason why these recipes are secret. La Perla has gone further with the development of its product and has created not only the original product but also other variants. Only natural ingredients are used in all our products.
What happens after curing?
Once this process is finished, the eggs will receive a new inspection which will be done with the help of a magnifying glass. This final quality-control is the one that takes more time since it seeks to ensure the homogeneity of the product that will be in the previously sterilized glass jars. Once the final inspection is finished, the product will be kept at a constant temperature of 4˚C to ensure its freshness and durability.
Can you make frozen egg snail caviar?
Like many foods, snail eggs can be frozen, but it is not recommended, as freezing causes a loss of flavor and tonicity of their shell; fundamental characteristics of what makes good snail caviar
Can caviar be pasteurized?
Some companies pasteurize their caviar to increase their durability, but pasteurization alters the texture and color of the eggs. Barcelona Pearls prefers that its product has a perfect flavor and texture during its durability of 4 months.
What is the snail egg made of?
This consists of a shell that is composed of calcium, which hardens on contact with air when the snail releases it in the peat.
This shell has the function of protecting its inner content, the albumin, that is wrapped in a thin transparent membrane.
What kind of snail is used to make caviar?
La Perla selected the species Helix Aspersa Müller as it is a snail with great adaptability to captivity, early growth and because of the number of eggs in its laying.
Taxonomy of Helix Aspersa?
It is a gastropod, since it is an invertebrate animal with a soft body and without segmentation; of terrestrial molluscum type since it walks on its belly and only lives in the earth.
How is its biological cycle?
The snail is an animal whose biological cycle depends on the season of the year in which it is found. Throughout the year it will have periods of activity and inactivity. Depending on their activity, alterations in their physiology will be seen, especially during hibernation and estivation periods.
During the hibernation period, it creates a thin veil at the entrance of the shell, the operculum, remaining inside it, in a lethargic state. Its breathing, heart rate and body temperature will decrease to a minimum. At the end of hibernation, it will have lost 40% of its weight because during hibernation, lives on the reserves accumulated during their periods of activity. Estivation is a phase very similar to hibernation, but this takes place in times when temperatures exceed 24 ˚C and there is low humidity.
What is the relationship between reproduction and hibernation?
During hibernation the snail rests by burying itself in the earth and will remain there until the temperature begins to rise at the end of winter. Naturally, it will begin to wake up and come up to the surface in search of water and food. This recovery phase can last for weeks. Once its recovery is complete and has fully regained its senses, it will focus e on finding a partner again.
They see, smell and taste?
They can recognize what surrounds them since they have the sense of touch, this is possible since they have neuroleptic cells located in the tentacles, lips and edge of the foot. These cells are sensitive to physical stimuli.
They have a primitive vision whose eye organs are located at the end of the larger tentacles. They can distinguish shapes between light and darkness within 5cm distance. They are not able to perceive colors.
Its olfactory receptors are distributed in its lower tentacles and lips which are able to smell no further than 50 cm. These receptors are intertwined with their sense of taste through which the snail can differentiate types of food.
They have otocysts, at the base of the larger tentacles and feet, which are organs responsible for the equilibrium sense of invertebrates, they are also sensitive to vibrations produced by sound. The otocysts that are located on the feet allow them to orientate themselves and provide them with information about their position.
Sleeps during the day and eats at night?
The snail avoids light, which means that its active period occurs in the dark. Like other animals in nature, they also need a light cycle to regulate their biological rhythm. This is especially important during the breeding season, if they have less than 6 hours of light a day they will not lay eggs.
What does a snail feed on?
In nature, the snail feeds on the vegetation that surrounds it. In farms, their feeding will be of fodder which are different depending on which stage of development they are in.