I just happen to love conch… conch fritters, cracked conch, conch salad, and conch burgers. I knew I wanted to learn how to catch, clean and prepare the conch while out cruising the Caribbean.
Catching conch is easy, you just have to snorkel and find them. Once you find them, you free dive down and pick them up. Easy peasy! The hard part is knowing how to kill and clean these critters.
So I asked a wonderfully nice Bahamian named Trameco to show me how to clean a conch that I had found. He was kind enough to teach me, and I took pictures of most of the steps. Here is a rough overview:
First you take a hammer and in a certain location, you open a small area so you can insert a knife (shown above). The knife is so you may remove the conch (shown left) from the beautiful shell by severing its attachment point. so far so good.
Conch are not pretty. You have to overlook that you are basically eating a sea snail.
The next part requires knowing what to remove and what to leave behind. You remove the digestive tract, the head, the horn, and the skin, which peels off. In this image, Trameco is cutting off the horn, which is how the conch moves around the sand:
Here are several images showing you how to remove the tough outer skin and peel it back:
When you are finished, you have some lovely cleaned conch to use in your favorite dish.
Some people tenderize the conch by pounding it, others by scoring it. Here is a local gentleman making conch salad with some fresh conch.
The flies tend to come out in droves when the conch is being cleaned and prepared. To combat them, you burn cans of sterno, which does the job nicely.
I leave you with a terrific picture of Trameco, holding my cleaned conch. Coming post, how I made a conch horn to blow at sunset!
Joe, Carla and Ethan