How to remove conch from its shells?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “How to remove conch from its shells?” and provide information on whether you can eat conch meat, how to clean conch shells as well as how to cook them.

How to remove conch from its shells?

To remove a conch from its shells, carefully hold the conch shell in your hands. Conch shells are pretty sharp so be careful while holding them. You can wear gloves while holding conch shells. 

Place the shells in salt water. You can add iodized salt or kosher salt to the water. You need to have 3 buckets. In the first bucket, you can first add ½ cup of kosher salt to 1 gallon of water. In the second bucket, add ¼ cup of salt to 1 gallon of water.

In the third bucket, the water quantity remains the same. Add ⅛ cup of salt. Soak conch shells in each bucket (from 1st to 3rd) for an hour. Wash the conch shells with water.

When the time comes to remove conches, put your finger inside the shell’s opening and remove them. If you are unable to insert your finger inside a conch, you might need to drill the conch a bit. Use a small driller to create a smaller hole in the conch shell. 

Make sure to cover your eyes while doing so. Once you are done, you can remove the snails easily from their shells. If you are lucky, you might find some pearls too!

You need to then remove the outer covering of the snail. The outer part of a snail can have a shell-like covering that can be easily removed by hand.

Another way to remove conches can be to place them in salted water and boil for 10 minutes. You can also freeze them and then thaw them to remove the snails.

Can you eat conch meat?

Yes, conch meat can be eaten. It can be added to salads, burgers, gumbos, or curries. In the Bahamas, it can be added to salads, fritters, or soups.

How to clean conch shells?

Conch shells can act as a decorative material or you can use them as a wind instrument too. However, it is important to clean conch shells before proceeding to use them. Some tips to clean conch shells are given below:

  • You can soak shells in bleach to remove any extraneous matter. For this purpose, initially wear a protective covering as you are working with bleach. You can mix bleach with water outdoors.

In a bucket, mix half bleach with half water. The amount of water and bleach required can vary depending on the number of conch shells that you wish to soak.

Place conch shells in bleach and allow them to soak for an entire day. After a day, remove conch shells from the bleach solution. Make sure to wear gloves while removing conches from the bleach solution.

  • After you have removed conch shells from the bleach solution, it is time to remove barnacles. Barnacles are small crustaceans that can be stuck to conch shells. You can easily remove them using tools.

Another way to remove these barnacles will be to use a hammer and gently tap them. Be careful while doing this as the shells are prone to get broken.

  • Scrubbing conch shells thoroughly using a scrubber and brush can remove any sand or other dirt stuck to these shells. Rinse shells using water and allow the shells to dry under a fan.
  • If your shells appear to be dull after you have cleaned them, apply oil to them using cotton. You can rub cotton balls on the shells. 

Allow these shells to dry and apply another coat if required. You can allow shells to dry for 12 hours if you want them to be shinier.

  • Do not dry shells out for too long as they can get dull, especially under the sun. You can instead dry shells indoors.

How to cook conches?

Once you have successfully removed the conch from its shell, you need to remove the digestive gland. Rinse them repeatedly in water. Only the muscle part of the conches has to be used for food.

The operculum of conches is the outer covering of conches which also needs to be removed before it is cooked. Remove any discolored skin present on the body of conches.

Use a mallet to soften the skin of the conch. Keep the conch in a vegetable or chicken broth and simmer for an hour. You can then consume them. You can also bread conches by dipping them in beaten egg and flour. It can then be deep-fried.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “How to remove conch from its shells?” and provided information on whether you can eat conch meat, how to clean conch shells as well as how to cook them.