FORAGING NEAR THE COAST…

Foraging –

forage/ˈfɒrɪdʒ/Learn to pronounceverbgerund or present participle: foraging

  1. (of a person or animal) search widely for food or provisions.”the birds forage for aquatic invertebrates, insects, and seeds”
    • obtain (food or provisions) by searching.”a girl foraging grass for oxen”
    • search (a place) so as to obtain food.”units that were foraging a particular area”

Foraging has become quite a popular word or late and no more than by the coast and countryside. In fact, you can go on numerous Foraging Courses where with this particular one Bushcraft and Celtic folklore specialist, Jonathon Huet, will take you on a guided walk to forage for wild food and impart his knowledge on different native trees in each season. The walk ends with a primitive fire-lighting demonstration and you will experience a Celtic Fire Ceremony around the glowing embers of the fire and learn the folklore of native trees.

There are short breaks when life gets back to normal or study your local district coastal foraging information. The UK coastline is one of the largest in Europe and is host to a wide range of habitats. From machair to cliffs to salt marsh, providing homes for everything from plants to birds.

Low Impact write how coastal foraging covers a wide variety of wild food available at the coast – plants, seaweeds, shellfish and crustaceans etc. Coastal foraging can be done everywhere from sea cliffs and dunes, out to the low tide point in the rocks, gullies and pools, as well as mudflats and estuaries. Coastlines offer a particularly abundant and one of the most dependable habitats for foragers. For these reasons, throughout our history humans have often chosen to live by the sea. Midden piles of discarded shells from ancient coastal foragers are the evidence that remains, and attest to the importance of the seashore as a plentiful food resource.

Some coastal food remains common in our diets today, such as prawns and crabs, and even carragheen seaweed hidden as a thickener in anything from toothpaste to desserts; whilst others, still delicious and nutritious, like winkles have fallen off the radar somewhat.

Coastal foraging can provide you with an abundance of truly nutritious food. In particular, shellfish offer a very high energy return with little input, and other than some low-cost (or even home made) equipment, it is free! Seaweed can be easily harvested and is high in vitamins and minerals.

Some coastal areas are now protected, either because of birds, flowers, insects, grasses and even due to the importance of the marine ecology under the waves, so its worth browsing your local councils website for more details of the type of areas you can forage.

You can find some great recipes from cookery books like The Seaweed Cookbook : A guide to edible seaweeds and how to cook by by Caroline Warwick-Evans and Tim van Berkel (Author), The Cornish Seaweed Company

 There are 100 deliciously creative recipes from simple and wholesome dishes to chef-inspired specials. Often overlooked during rock pool scrambles and beach walks, seaweed is one of the most nutritious, versatile, sustainable and intriguing natural products.

Another brilliant book is Eat The Beach : A Guide to Edible Seashore by Fraser Christian (Author)

Eat the Beach is a uniquely informative, practical guide to coastal foraging, essential for anyone interested in survival skills or just wanting to get more out of messing about in rock pools. Fraser Christian runs the UK’s only specialist Coastal Survival School. This book teaches anyone how to collect it, catch it, prepare it, cook it and enjoy it.

The website Low Impact go on to remind you that it’s worth taking the sea, and it’s changeable weather seriously, but don’t let it put you off. Check the weather before you go and particularly avoid disorientating sea mists or storms. It’s very important to be aware of the tide times, and the speed of the incoming tide. Because of the risks, it’s generally best to go with someone, and take a phone. It’s good practice to tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to be back.

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