I’ve just come back home after a day wandering with some friends along the Anglesey shoreline. We talked a lot about foraging and coastal life, which inspired me today to write a micro blog for you on foraging the foreshore of Anglesey. My hope is that it will reconnect people a little back to nature, so that you can spot simple things to gather, prepare and eat whilst out and about. The anglesey shoreline is packed full of goodies to see and eat and everyone should at least know a few things they can identify, even just for conversational purposes. So what i’d like to show you is a quick top 5 guide to remember the next time your on a beach, an estuary or on the coastline on Anglesey. You can take a bit of each and experiment with your cooking.
I want to begin this micro blog series with an introduction to the plant based foraging goodies on the foreshore. We all know you can catch a few fish and crabs to eat, but what about those green plants along the coast, which ones are edible? It’s actually very easy to identity the five that I’m going to show you, you cant really go too far wrong.
However as with any reference to wild edible plants and food, I must tell you I’m not a foraging guide and you must all do you own research. I have done many courses, and have 30 years experience on island of Anglesey and it all counts for a little knowledge at least. Anyhow, before you eat wild things get a expert to check you don’t poisons yourself!
Remember with any foraging foray, wash all your food down with fresh cold water (in the sea) and then clean it off ready for the pan. Don’t forage on well trodden beaches because of dogs and their watering habits! Get an OS Map of Anglesey and begin your foraging forays.
So head out to the Anglesey coast, these are the five plants that I routinely look for they are as follows..
Sea holly is a thorny beast that you find on the foreshore, its quite distinguishable with its pale colour and waxy spiky leaves. However although the top half is not edible the root is. Now this plant is pretty special, so you don’t juts dig it up and take all of its roots, foragers taught us to just move the sand away from one of its root sections and take part of one root (cut if off with a knife)
How to cook and serve : Boil it in sea water, like a carrot and the chop into tiny pieces and try it.
Ah yes the wonderful sea cabbage, this one you can’t miss it. Its big flaring cabbage style leaves are a silvery green when mature and have a hint of purple when quite young. The young purple laves a less thick, but a bit more bitter. Take only a few leaves from each plant and make sure it has plenty of foliage left to live.
How to cook and serve : Chop into thin strips, boil up and serve as a nutrition green side. Or you can eat raw, like I do whilst out and about.
A wonderful mini little cactus that sits 5 inches tall on the grass lands of estuaries. Don’t pull it out by its roots instead, trim a few of its arms off with a scissors, leaving he root intact so that it can grow back again for next season.
How to cook and serve :
Boil up in the pan for a few minutes, and eat al-dente. I love to serve a bunch of samphire with some fresh fish i’ve caught on the beach, a dash of sea salt and some lemon juice on them is just beautiful !
Samphire in its finest
A delicious plant that gazes all across the foreshore, its so abundant, you can collect it in most bays. It’s very easy to identify with its pinch looking leaves and you can pick them, wash them cook them and go!
How to cook and serve : I often use the spinach with a a fish cocktail with cockles and clams and some white wine which is rather lovely! Just throw it int the mix (last of all) while your cooking up the cockle mixes and add the wine too.
The lovely sea spinach
In all honesty i’ve not harvested this one yet, but its on my radar. Sea purslane or salt marsh lamb is a rather tasty little morsels when foraged at the right time of year. To find it have a wander down the estuary and salt marsh environment and have a look at the foreshore for the light green little plant with oval leaves, its found very abundant in these areas.
How to cook and serve : Some people love to chop it up into small pieces and have it as a preplacemt for capers in dishes, in salads. Some also make purslane pesto from it too, sounds rather exciting and I might give that a go!
Alexanders are very easy to identify and rather common, though mainly round the coast. Apparently this plant, which looks a little like a cross between celery and hog weed, was introduced by the Romans as a fodder plant for their animals. It can taste is something between celery and fennel.
Cook the stems in a little water and butter with plenty of salt and pepper until the water evaporates and leaves the stems all lovely and soft makes a great side dish for fish, I like to eat these with Polloack and Coalfsh.
Have a look at our other blogs on forging and plant and tree identification also, so have a look at these, Wild foraging in north Wales
There are quite a handful of books in the foraging space and there are a few gems of which I truly love. There a mix of books that I recommend, ones to recognise trees, ones to understand the old ways of self sufficiency and ones for foraging as a whole. The subject is a bit bigger than foraging itself, as the principles go a long way further. If you like the books, they are on our amazon store, we get a 1% commission from any purchase which gives us a tiny bit of the sale. It helps to get us a coffee every now and again! For note- I have each of the books below and more, I won’t recommend anything that I don’t love to you all!
Over the next few months ill be running a coupe of small gatherings / courses on foraging on the foreshore to add a little bit of teaching to my repertoire, it may also be in conjunction with another good name in the local foraging industry. If your interested in late season foraging or early next and you want to show your interest, just leave us your details here and will get back to you with more info once we have finalised it all.
Tan Y Tro Nesaf / Until the next time,
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