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by Mel Neal
WEBMASTER's NOTE: Dec 2008: Please note that
it has been illegal to harvest Conch in the Florida Keys for quite some time.
Recently the Bahamian government made conch harvesting off-limits for non
Bahamians. You'll have to barter with a local for fresh conch.
This article has been reproduced with
permission by the author. It was originally published in August 2000 in the
"Cruising Coast and Islands" newsletter, Tom Neale editor. We highly
recommend this newsletter for Cruisers on the East Coast & Bahamas.
More information is at the bottom of this page.
Webmaster's Note - see related pages on CONCH
I've previously given recipes for Conch Salad and
Conch Fritters. Many have asked how to clean conch.
Equipment Needed: Masonry (or
claw) hammer, fillet knife, paring knife, table knife.
Using masonry hammer, make hole in the shell
of conch, in space between 3rd & 4th spiral from the center, on the side
about two or three points up from the flare.
Insert paring knife into hole. If you feel
hard muscle you are in the right place. Cut it through. If you feel soft
stuff, go back to step 1 and try again.
Holding onto claw (foot), pull whole conch
out of shell. Photo 1.
Locate head (black and yellow spotted part,
with eye stalks) and cut off with fillet knife. Photo 2.
Holding by claw, use fillet knife to cut off
mantle (orange spotted "skirt" part) and attached long stringy
slimy part. Bahamians often leave the mantle on for color in conch salad. It
tastes pretty good. Rinse in seawater as needed. Conch is slimy. Photo 3.
Locate intestine (dark vein on bottom of
white muscle now exposed) and cut it out with fillet knife. Photo 4.
Slice through dark tough skin on white muscle
from bottom to claw with fillet knife.
Using whatever method works for you, remove
all of the skin to expose edible white muscle. It may be skinned by putting
dull table knife under it to pry off; some people pull it off with their
teeth; others put thumbs under it and pull it with hands; others peel it
with a fillet knife. Rinse. Photo 5.
The claw, a good hand hold, may be cut off
If recipe calls for tenderized conch, cut off
foot (claw) and slice through muscle horizontally once or twice. Pound with
meat tenderizing mallet till flat, thin, and lacey. Not necessary for salad
Refrigerate or use immediately in your
"Cruising Coast and Islands'"
web site is www.tomneale.com , PO
Box 161, Gwynn, Virginia 23066.
Subscriptions for this bi-monthly newsletter are $29.95 ($24.95 as a special
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Tel: 804-725-0381 Toll Free: 877-277-4268, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Cruising Coast and
Islands'" is about achievable cruising under sail
and power along the East Coast and the Islands. This isn't about crossing
oceans, sailing around the Horn, or being macho. It is about a dream that YOU
can live, safely and comfortably. What you read here won't be filtered through
land locked offices. It comes to you from a boat as it cruises. Mel and I have
lived aboard Chez Nous over 20 years, cruising around 5000 miles per
year. We both began cruising over 45 years ago. We and the others who write here
will tell it like it is so that you can have fun doing it -- now or
later. Tom Neale
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