ACHATINA FULICA: FARMING GIANT AFRICAN LAND SNAIL

Achatina Fulica

Achatina Fulica

Achatina Fulica. Smallest amongst the Giant African Snails used for farming.

 ACHATINA FULICA: INTRODUCTION (COMMON GARDEN SNAIL) 

Achatina Fulica are common garden snails. I call them “Wakawaka” or Busy Bodies” They are always on the move even in daytime when others are resting. It is easy to see them in your backyard when the ground is wet.
Couple of years ago I introduced a few into my backyard. Ever since they have been residents. They fend for themselves and are able to survive hard seasons. When I decided to revisit snail farming I found them in abundance in my garden when it rained.

JEREMIAH 27:5 (AMP)
“I have made the earth, the men and the animals that are on the face of the earth by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and I will give it to whomever pleases Me.

 SPECIAL FEATURES 

They lay eggs in abundance even before reaching a reasonable body size.

Eggs of Achatina Fulica
Achatina Fulica newly laid eggs.

Achatina Fulica lay over hundred eggs at a time. The eggs are tiny and so are the babies. Many of the babies will die within a few days after hatching if they are not handled with care. It is not easy caring for the fragile babies because they are so many and come in quick succession.

Their slow growth is a disadvantage when compared with other giant African snail species that mature faster.

 HOW TO RECOGNIZE ACHATINA FULICA 

They are so common that one can unknowingly step on them. It has a long body segmented into 7 to 9 spirals. These spirals are also called whorls, the body is brownish in color with white/creamish stripes.  You can easily identify them by the pointed tip or apex peculiar to the Achatina species.

Achatina Fulica growth stages.
Achatina Fulica in different stages of growth.

Though they are part of the African Giant snail family this species don’t grow as fast as the others. They are the smallest in size among the ones recommended for snail farming.

 ACHATINA FULICA: WHAT THEY EAT 

Caring for Achatina Fulica is easy and inexpensive. Although they are slow growers, farming these snails for consumption is worthwhile if you have a space to keep them. They feed on almost every type of plants and fruits. Household waste which ordinarily would have been thrown into the trash can be given to them and they will grow well.

Achatina Fulica feeding on household waste.
Feeding Achatina Fulica with potato, carrots and cabbage peels.

The moment you have them they will always be there as they multiply very fast and will be meat for the soup pot.

PSALMS 104:13 -14 (ESV)
From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work. You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth

When the condition of the place where they are kept becomes unfavorable they will burrow to the ground and have a lengthy sleep!

 CHALLENGES ACHATINA FULICA FACE IN THE PEN 

The Achatina Fulica for sometime were the only species in my pen and they were doing fine. The moment I introduced matured Archachatina Marginata species all that changed. Within a week of the arrival of Archachatina Marginata species I began to see holes in the shell of Achatina Fulica. Some of those holes were so wide that the flesh protrudes out and after some days the snail dies off. Over time most of the Achatina Fulica suffered the same fate.

Achatina Fulica cannibalised
Achatina Fulica cannibalised

There is enough calcium provided for all the snails in the pen but somehow it appears the Archachatina Marginata just don’t want to share space with the Achatina Fulica. The shell of juvenile Archachatina Marginata is thicker and stronger than the shell of Achatina Fulica of the same age.

It is good to separate snails of the same species into different pens to reduce cannibalism.

 ACHATINA FULICA: CONCLUSION 

Achatina Fulica is good for snail farming as hobby and for family consumption. I love using them in place of periwinkles for soup recipes. Despite their slow growth they are prolific breeders and are good sport for hobbyist like me.
If you are thinking of rearing Achatina Fulica for profit then look for the ones that are already very big. The bigger they are the bigger their eggs so also the babies.

8 months old Achatina Fulica
Over 8months old Achatina Fulica

Despite their growth limitation Achatina Fulica is good in the vegetable soup pot and other delicacies.

GENESIS 9:3 (NCV)
“Everything that moves, everything that is alive, is yours for food. Earlier I gave you the green plants, but now I give you everything for food.

I hope to construct an additional pen in no distance time so I can separate them.

Visit my blog for more post on other species of snails and discover the best ones to rear profit wise.

Feel free to share the link to this post with friends. Use it to equip yourself and others to become interested in rearing snails.

Read my other posts on snail farming for more inspiration:

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BONDING WITH GIANT AFRICAN SNAIL

Bonding with giant African snail pic 1

As humans we tend to bond with what we love. The essence is to form a mutually beneficial relationship. It is therefore not a misnomer bonding with giant African snail kept in captivity. We have edible snails in Africa and these snails are collectively called giant African snails. These snails are of different shapes and … Read more BONDING WITH GIANT AFRICAN SNAIL

SNAIL FARMING: REARING SNAILS CORRECTLY

Snail farming is fascinating and it is exciting watching the GAL snails growing in a controlled environment. I had always been interested in snails for as long as I could remember. There are different species of edible snails in our environment. The ones commonly found in backyards don’t grow big and children delight in hunting … Read more SNAIL FARMING: REARING SNAILS CORRECTLY

MAKING CHIPS FROM PLANTAIN HARVEST

HOW TO MAKE PLANTAIN CHIPS

Once harvested, plantains ripen within a week. I  keep some in the refrigerator to prolong the length of time it will be available for my use. They should however not be kept for too long in the fridge as they will still end up getting ripe anyway. A better option for me is making them into chips which can be preserved for longer period. The chips are delicious so I enjoy eating them anytime.

  • Unripe plantain for making the less sweet plantain chips
  • Sliced unripe plantain to be spread on a tray
  • Sliced unripe plantain spread on a tray ready for frying
  • Frying has begun with electric deep fryer
  • A little bit easier using the electric deep fryer
  • Fried chips transferred to a sieve. The unripe plantain turns out yellow when ready
  • The ripe plantain chips comes out in a darker colour
  • The chips spread on a lined tray . The paper towel absorbs the excess oil.

MAKING THE CHIPS

I usually make two type of chips: a) sweet b) tasteless. For the sweet chips I use plantains that are just beginning to ripe and are still hard while unripe plantain is used for the tasteless.

What you need for the chips

  • 3 Ripe/Unripe Plantains (better to limit the quantity till you have mastered the preparation)
  • Enough frying oil of your choice to half fill the deep fryer (I use the common groundnut oil available in the market)
  • Salt (optional)
  • Grounded dried pepper (if you like the spicy taste)
  • Hot water ( needed if you are using the unripe plantain

Materials for the Chips

  • Deep frying pan
  • Cutting knife or Plantain slicer
  • Cutting board
  • Tray
  • Paper towels
  • Sieve
  • Frying spoon

PREPARATION

1. Rinse the plantain

2. Cut off stem at both ends of each plantain

3. If using the unripe plantain; immerse them in the hot water for 3-5 minutes. This will make the peel come off with ease

4. Make a slit with your knife and peel off the skin

5. Using your board; slice the plantain thinly. Slice into any shape you like but  as much as possible let it be uniform .

I like the round shape. It is easier to have a uniform shape if you are using the plantain slicer. Albeit with constant practice you can achieve that with the knife too. I use the knife anyway.

6. I don’t season with salt often but if you like the salty taste

  • Get some warm water
  • Add the salt and sliced unripe plantain.
  • Leave it for about 5 minutes to absorb.
I don’t advise same for the ripe plantains as it becomes soggy and takes longer time during frying.

7. Strain out the water and spread them on a paper towel in a tray

8. If you want the spicy taste sprinkle the pepper while on the tray.

FRYING THE CHIPS

1. Pour the oil in a dry deep fryer and place on gas. Let the oil be hot. I use an Electric deep fryer and the temperature remain constant all through the period of frying.

2. Put the cut slices separately into the fryer so they don’t stick together

3. Use your frying spoon (the perforated one) to stir all through.

4. It is ready when the unripe plantain turns to a bright yellow colour. You can also ascertain readiness when the oil stops making that sizzling or hissing sound. The ripe ones will turn to a pale brownish colour.

5. Bring them out of the hot oil and put in a sieve lined with paper towel. Transfer to a lined tray for it to cool. The paper towel is to absorb the excess oil.

They are ready for eating when they cool a little. Usually I sealed the excess in a transparent nylon and store in the freezer in a well covered container.

Sincerely I do this only when the quantity is much. Often time I just tie them using the popular “santana nylons” because they are just too good to be left in the freezer for long! I have stored for up to a week and they remained crispy.

You may want to experiment by storing for longer, will be glad to know if they still stayed crispy and for how long.

WHO CAN MAKE PLANTAIN CHIPS

We all can make the chips even without owning a plantain garden. Plantains are cheap when in season. The chips are good snacks to have handy especially if you like munching in between meals. I wonder if one can ever over eat these crispy chips.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion I suggestyou try it and let me know how it turns out. It is a good activity for the grannies out there. A delicacy you can give children that come on visit or go on errands for you. There is joy in sharing.

Further more this is a continuation of my post on Plantain and Banana mini farm. To read more click this link https://www.recipe4growth.com/plantain-banana-mini-farm/

STARTING MY PLANTAIN AND BANANA MINI FARM

GROWING PLANTAIN AND BANANA

Plantain and Banana were the first plants to grace my backyard garden some years ago. I purchased the baby plants called suckers from hawkers in traffic for a very small amount. I bought two of each out of curiosity and planted in a small space out of which two dried off as a result only two survived.

Interestingly from those two survivors I harvested a lot. Many people have had a taste of the plantains and bananas including strangers. The yield from a single plantain plant is always more than what I can eat alone hence I share with others as a result I am able to do that which God wants.

Leviticus 19:9-10
“When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop.

It is the same with your grape crop—do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God. (NLT)

Aside from the harvest the plantain plants produce suckers which replaces the dying ones and provide enough to start another farm elsewhere. In addition to the suckers I have more than thirty plants scattered in the backyard garden that are either fruiting or near fruiting.

WORKING IN A GARDEN

Gardening requires some constant work but rarely do you incur total loss. There is always a return no matter how small to show for our effort which I believe this is God’s way of letting us know His word can always be trusted to manifest.

Genesis 8:22  For as long as Earth lasts, planting and harvest, cold and heat, Summer and winter, day and night
will never stop.” (MSG)

I find plantains and baGrowing plantains near fencenanas very easy to nurture as they require minimal maintenance.

Both plants grows reasonably tall and have wide leaves that gives shade. They can be planted near the fence or strategic locations to beautify the premises in addition to providing food.

Present in my garden are the dwarf specie of bananas which are said to be hybrid and they do produce heavy bunch of fruit.

Heavy bunch of fruit from the dwarf banana specie. They need to be eaten fast as they do not store well.

SUCCESS IN MY MINI FARM

The non hybrid local bananas have been a bit difficult to grow hence I am yet to record success . They share similar traits with the plantain and are very tall. The first set I planted were destroyed by some of my hired labourers. They could differentiate between weeds and the banana plants as a result they to pull out the banana plants in addition to the weeds. By the time I came back to supervise they had already cleared some of my precious plants alongside the weeds. I am presently tending new sets and eagerly waiting to see them fruiting.

INITIAL PREPARATION

You have to prepare the place where you want to grow either the plantain or banana. Ascertain the number your land can accommodate as they produce offshoots very fast . They will thrive in a place where the soil is rich usually what we refer to as black soil and availability of water. I use poultry waste as an alternative to artificial artificial fertilizer. You can also use cow manure or old compost to increase the nutrients available for your plant. My motivation is to grow something healthier than the ones produced commercially. Unlike other crops; plantains are not started from seeds but from suckers that are readily available from people that already have the plants.

SOURCING FOR LARGE QUANTITIES OF SUCKERS

For wider coverage or bigger parcel of land you get suckers  from farmers that have plantation. Plantain and banana produces young ones even before flowering or fruiting. The suckers get so many such that if you don’t pull off some or transplant elsewhere it will over time affect the overall productivity of your plant. Hence farmers give out suckers at a reasonable cost and you may even get them for free especially if the requirement is just a few plants for the home garden.

Planting

On receipt of the suckers dig the already prepared patch of land giving at least four feet space between two plants. They need room to thrive and require constant weeding, As they get bigger the need for weeding reduces as the shade prevent other plants from growing. I once planted cabbage under tall plantains believing the cabbage will benefit from the cool area but the lack of sunlight did not make them thrive.

new suckers picture
Weeds competing with my transplanted suckers.

Maintenance

Within a short time of growth plantains and bananas start bringing offshoots around the base. This ensures continuous production as these offshoots replaces the old ones which only produces once and die off. Plantains and bananas can grow for years if given basic maintenance. If left unchecked suckers may become too many competing for nutrients. Hence there is need to trim down to about three or four to give adequate room for growth. The suckers removed can be planted elsewhere  or disposed.

Depending on the age of the sucker planted and adequate provision of water; they can start flowering within six months.

Knowing when Plantain and Banana Plants Matures

Plantains and Bananas usually start flowering from around six to seven months depending on variety.

From the time the male and female flowers come out you will still need to wait for at least three months before the plantain fruits called fingers will mature enough for harvest. The fingers come out very slender but it continues to get bigger each day. During this period they require a lot of water. When the rains slow down I try to channel water to them so as to harvest fruits that are reasonable in size.

Time to Harvest Your Plantain or Banana

I usually harvest when I see at least one finger changing from green to a light yellowish colour. If left to ripe on the tree they become prey to birds that like feeding on them too. My plantain plants are usually very tall but it does not deter me from bringing down the fruit. I use a very sharp machete to cut it down as close as possible to the bunch.

When harvesting be careful of the liquid it produces . It is difficult cleaning them from any surface or clothes it touches.

What I do with my plantain harvest

Plantain and Bananas are one favorite garden produce that never goes to waste. I eat and give out.

Methods of preparation

  • Frying- Peel, slice into small sizes and fry. The fried plantain can be eaten with other food like rice, beans, potatoes, etc
  • Boiling – Cut into small sizes with the skin intact and boil. Eat the boiled plantain with vegetable or any rich soup sauce.
  • Roasting – I use the oven or microwave for this. I peel and oil the plantain a little before placing in the oven.
  • Making it into powder – Peel unripe plantain and allow to dry in the sun.
    • Grind into fine powder and prepare same way like semovita. Amala or tuwo looks like plantain paste too.
  • One way of eating plantain is to turn it to chips.

In Conclusion

Plantain is prepared in various form but the above are the ways I personally utilize them. The bananas can be made into smoothies and served chilled.  I keep African Giant snails that love to eat plantains and banana too. I seldom feed the snails plantains or banana rather I let them have the peels and I guess they are a little thankful for that!

I hope this is enough to get you inspired to plant some in your backyard. For more https://www.recipe4growth.com/plantain-banana-mini-farm/post

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