We’ve been having a lot of fun, Kelsey and I. We’ve been working pretty hard too. Kelsey Michael has been teaching me songs, I’ve been creating quirky little ditties about plants I see and eat along the coast paths and hedgerows, and we’ve been walking.…
Cornwall is the 9th largest county in the UK, it’s boarder mostly by the sea (and Devon, of course) and is almost 1500 metres squared in area. We have amazing access to coastal areas, 422miles of it, where foraging is rich and includes fish, mollusks,…
Everytime I run a Seaweed Foraging Course I make tasters. Sometimes I stick to old favourites like seaweed hummus, or 3 Seaweed Soup though often I tweak things or experiment – I like to keep things fresh and new.
Frequently I make seaweed bread and dips; it’s easy, accessible and bread is a brilliant carrier for all sorts of toppings on the beach. In my Seaweed book I have a perfect hummus recipe, and a Crab and Alaria Seaweed salad (image below).
I don’t often get to teach this seaweed, so doing so, and eating it is a real treat. Alaria esculenta is also known as Dabberlocks, Tangle or sometimes Atlantic Wakame, and is one of the seaweeds that is delicious raw. This makes it perfect for marinades and salads. I love crab, though veganism is becoming more and more popular, so I decided to tweak the recipe and make it vegan, so everyone on my most recent seaweed course could enjoy it.
Alaria Esculenta doesn’t grow everywhere, though we do have it off the Cornish coast, and it is most similar to Wakame – a Japanese seaweed used in salads and soups. I share more about this on my courses (there’s just too much to say here!).
Here’s the recipe;
Carrot, Ginger and Alaria Seaweed Salad
This is really easy to make though ideally you need to marinade the seaweed overnight. You can use fresh or dried seaweed and you could use ginger juice (juice yourself) rather than pickled ginger (available in Asian food stores).
- 15cm dried alaria esculenta seaweed or 25cm fresh (this should be the oldest part, with the stipe/stem and 2/3 of the seaweed left behind for it to rejuvenate)
- 50g pickled ginger, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 300g carrots
Finely chop the seaweed and place in a medium sized bowl. Add the ginger followed by the rest of the ingredients, except the carrots. Stir thoroughly to coat, cover and leave overnight. In the morning grate the carrots and add to the marinade. Mix well and empty the contents into a container with a well-sealed lid and take to the beach, or serve in a salad bowl.
Goes really well with seaweed hummus, seaweed bread, added into stir fries, with noodles, with fried rice, and well, lots of things!
To find out more about identifying and harvesting seaweeds sustainably do check out the seaweed foraging courses or if you want to save money, my seaweed book with recipes, identification, nutrition and lots of tips is just £6.95.
Nettles are amazing – nutritious, versatile and abundant. Never under-estimate the humble stinging nettle (urtica dioica) it’s one of the best wild greens we have (nettles contain iron, vitamin c, protein and so, so much more). Really we should and could be celebrating, and using…
A 3 minute video about munching and tasting while walking and foraging in Cornwall, why children are good foragers and how it is not rocket science (plus some safety advice!). Interview and video by Cameron Hanson.
Lapping waves, sweet smelling hedgerows, and glorious walks and forays in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly were the inspiration for writing my first book; Wild Food Foraging in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Which does what is says in the title. Something…
Spring has been creeping in, in some places slowly, and other places fast. The telling signs of birds carrying nesting material, lighter mornings and the fresh green plant life in the landscape all help us soften and brighten as Winter is left behind. If you’re…
630 miles of coast line.
That’s 630 miles of pathways, steps, beaches, cliffs, pebbles, sand, shingle or boulders.
630 miles of potential coastal plants, as well hedgerows, fields, even woodland growth.
That’s 630 miles of varied and possible foraging ground.
I’m a forager, a walker, a stalker of plants and a lover of sea views and varied landscapes. I live in Cornwall, and like many Cornish (or settlers here) I’m content holidaying here too.
Taking a chunk of time out to walk part of the Cornish coastal path is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Embarrassingly, I’ve never done this (for more than 1 day at a time) in Cornwall. Though I have done several walking trips in the Himalayas, Scotland and Austria – up to 3 weeks at a time, just walking.
So this summer, this was it: 8 days, 80 miles, various companions and a new pair of walking sandals. Traveling light, I had pockets and bags to forage with and left the cumbersome, though beautiful and often useful, basket behind.
Coastal foraging is rich pickings – there is a good reason that many communities originally settled on the coast line or nearby, and this wasn’t just for the fishing, or the view.
Fish and seafood are wonderful sources of nutrition, particularly protein and good oils, yet the plants and seaweeds that grow in these areas are equally of value. Actually, I wouldn’t choose one over the other, though together the combination is sublime, as well as nutritionally balanced.
Starting from St Ives and finishing in Padstow, I was fascinated by how much the foraging available would vary on this stretch of coast path. Whether I’d be seeing much variety, or just seeing the same plants again and again.
There are over one hundred plants and seaweeds that I, and you too, could be foraging, easily and regularly while walking the South West Coast Path. I know if I’d have walked further, perhaps the whole of the coast – from Minehead to Poole – then I would have experienced a greater diversity of edibles and landscapes that they thrive in. However, as much as I am an explorer, I am a home girl too, and being able to look back along that coast path, and see the distance that I had traveled by foot, felt -for now- far enough away from home.
If you’ve ever done long distance walking, or indeed walked the South West Coast Path, you will probably know these two things;
- You can burn quite a lot of energy walking, especially when it’s up and down, rocky and challenging, and especially if you’re carrying a ruck sack too.
- Despite the considerable improvement in food choice in Cornwall, i.e. good quality, local ingredients, simply cooked. In some areas of the coast path, it’s trickier to access much more than fish and chips and sandwiches.
Perhaps I’m just justifying my food and calorie choices for this journey! However, snacking on forageables definitely broke up my walking and monotony of meals. While camping, I was able to add wild greens to dishes, introduce walking companions to wild tastes and enjoy the beauty of the coast through my taste buds as well as my feet and eyes.
If you know much about sailing and the fate of many sailors one hundred years or more ago. You’ll know that scurvy – a condition caused by vitamin C deficiency was an unpleasant, unsightly and far too common disease. Many of the plants I was picking were rich in vitamin C, and used by sailors in the past for this very reason.
Rock Samphire, Scurvy Grass, Sorrel, Ox-Eye Daisy, Sea Spinach – are all good vitamin C sources. No oranges or lemons did I carry in my rucksack, my nutrition was hedgerow and coast path sourced, well, ok, with the occasional Cornish apple juice to quench my thirst too.
To find out more about walking the South West Coast Path, go to; http://www.southwestcoastpath.com/
Baggage transfer can lighten your daily load and this company is hugely friendly and helpful, see; http://www.luggagetransfers.co.uk/south-west.html
If you would like to have a 1/2 day foraging guide, during your walking (please note I average 1 mile an hour for this), please do contact me