Seashore & Rivers

The best way to cook your foraged mussels.

Mussels (Mytilus edulis) are a common ingredient in Spanish cuisine. They are cooked in many different ways, either just boiled with a squeeze of lemon juice over them, or even better, added to stews or paella.
After spending a couple of weeks in Galicia (north-west corner of Spain) and trying a few of these plates made by locals, I found that my absolute favourite is as easy to make as it is delicious.

Foraging for seafood in Galicia is, however, forbidden by law, as there are professional “Marisqueiros” (seafood collectors), who need to have a license to catch and sell the fruits of their seas. Thankfully, the situation in the UK is different and makes it possible for seafood-lovers to make a trip to their nearest beach and try to find these little black-and-orange animals. The amount and size of mussels you find around the coasts of the British Isles are much smaller than in Galicia, so make sure you don’t take more than you need and let the small ones continue to live on the rocks.  It’s also really important to try and get advice from the locals before you go out foraging for mussels, as they may be kind enough to warn you of issues with water quality, local sewage outflow pipes (which you’d want to avoid for obvious reasons), and anything else you may need to be aware of, including any kind of local bylaws preventing the collecting of the mussels.

Berries, Sweets & Syrups

How to make wild strawberry jam

If you are lucky enough to have wild strawberries growing in your back garden or you to live close to a place where you can collect them, you have to give this delicious wild strawberry jam a try!

The wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca), also known as an Alpine or Woodland strawberry, is a delicious if not quite small version of their cultivated cousin. They’re normally just a few millimeters in length, rarely growing to anything near a standard strawberry from your local supermarket. But what they lack in size, they definitely make up for in taste, packing a really strong, concentrated flavour. You’ll typically find alpine strawberries at the edge of woods and mountains (hence the name Alpine, which refers to the mountain range the Alps) where they like to grow in shady and slightly damp conditions.

Seashore & Rivers

How to Catch Signal Crayfish

If you’re interested in foraging for wild food then it’s highly likely that you’ve heard about the plight of the Signal crayfish in the UK waters. In this article we’ll take a look at a bit of the background story involving Signal crayfish, and then we’ll dive deep into how to catch them – including applying for a license, getting the traps, and most importantly finding a stretch of water in the UK that contains the non-native crayfish.

American Crayfish
Photo of the Signal Crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) by Astacoides

Background story of the Signal Crayfish – Why are they here?

This American Signal crayfish was introduced to the UK in the late 70’s as part of an aquaculture program to farm the crustacean to be used as a source of food.

Acorns & Nuts

Chestnut Soup Recipe

Its that time of year again – Autumn is just about here and winter won’t be too far away, meaning that chesnuts will be available again!
Sweet chestnuts are not only very good for you but they are delicious too, and very versatile. You can use them to make soup, flour, and much more. They taste great just roasted on an open fire, but one of my favourite recipes is a chesnut soup.
It may be best to wait until the frost has arrived before picking, so you may be best to pick chestnuts at around November/December time. But if you see any that have already started dropping onto the floor of the forests then it would be a shame for them to go to waste (obviously leave some for the animals though!).

Wild Plants & Herbs

Stinging Nettle Beer

Stinging Nettle beer is quite a unique drink because it can be drank after just 7 days from the moment that you collected the nettles – most alcoholic drinks take months or years to ferment. Unlike many other wines and beers, nettle beer doesn’t need time to improve the flavour, it will probably taste best after just over a week.
Nettle beer tastes a little like ginger beer, and is a nice refreshing drink – especially when served cold with ice.