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foraging for oysters and mussels
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vics



Joined: 07 Dec 2008
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 08 12:31 am    Post subject: foraging for oysters and mussels  Reply with quote    

Wow! I've just found this site and think it is fantastic. Well done whoever set it all up!
I would like any tips anyone has for foraging for oysters. There are apparently lots on certain local beaches and it seems to me to be an ethical form of foraging as the portuguese oyster is threatening the indigenous species.
I read the article on foraging for mussels and thought it was good, but I was a bit concerned about reports from friends that the mussels can be full of mud and grit ....am I right in thinking that they, like oysters, might be best left in salt water with oatmeal for 24 hours, on a rack, so that they get rid of any gumph that has accumulated ???
Also, how do you actually go about harvesting oysters.....? If anyone has ideas and experience please let me know!

Jamanda
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 34865
Location: Devon
PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 08 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hi Vics. Welcome to the site.

There's a couple of articles in here you might find interesting.

Not sure about oysters. I think they live in deeper water and you need sub aqua gear to collect them.

Jamanda
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 34865
Location: Devon
PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 08 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Sorry - you've already read the main mussel article - late at night, not reading properly!

I've never found mussels to be unduly gritty. Sometimes they can be quite salty. I don't think I'd be wanting to collect them from anywhere muddy!

Jonnyboy



Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 23924
Location: under some rain.
PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 08 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

You can purge mussels, make up a brine solution, add some oatmeal or cornmeal and leave for a few hours.

vics



Joined: 07 Dec 2008
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 08 9:20 pm    Post subject: Oysters Reply with quote    

Thanks for the replies...oysters round here are in relatively shallow water as there are many rocky reefs which are accessible in low tide: I think oysters thrive in settings where they are covered in water for a period of time but they survive the low tides .... but yes, wading to some degree may be necessary if only at wellie levels!
Still puzzled by lack of information on this one. I think you have to chisel the oysters off the chalk reefs as they cling on.
Vics

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 08 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If you google "oyster foraging", this thread comes out top!

Jamanda
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 34865
Location: Devon
PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 08 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Just looked them up in Richard Mabey's Food for free. He says there are very few wild oysters left around Britain, so you should leave them.

Are the ones you find smooth shelled (natives) or rougher like the ones you buy - if the latter maybe they are escaped cultivated ones and so are OK to take.

Edited to add - don't worry too much about getting things in exactly the right forum - most people just use the latest post button any way. And things have a habit of flying off on a tangent round here any way.

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 08 8:50 am    Post subject: Re: foraging for oysters and mussels Reply with quote    

Vics, the quality of mussels varies with where you get them from; some beaches give you gritty mussels, some don't.

The ground oats-in-salty-water thing, its dead easy and I find it helps. Get some clean tap water, make it salty like seawater, put it in a bucket, and put your mussels in - you want a decent depth. Add a handfull of ground oats (or if you haven't got any, flour will do at a push), mix it in, leave it somewhere cool for 24 hours or so. Gets a bit of grit out I guess, but more importantly it means that your mussels last meal was something entirely clean and safe, and of a neutral flavour allowing the taste of the mussels to dominate.

Jamanda is right to caution you about oysters. But you've got more options than just oysters and mussels; have you considered winkles, shore crabs, seaweed..?

Roughly where are you, whats the seashore like round your way?

crofter



Joined: 11 Feb 2007
Posts: 2252

PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 08 1:54 pm    Post subject: Re: foraging for oysters and mussels Reply with quote    

cab wrote:
Get some clean tap water, make it salty like seawater, put it in a bucket,


Or just use seawater. I have never heard of the oatmeal idea, (we just eat mussels directly from the sea) but cockles are depurated overnight in a bucket of water.

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 08 2:06 pm    Post subject: Re: foraging for oysters and mussels Reply with quote    

crofter wrote:
cab wrote:
Get some clean tap water, make it salty like seawater, put it in a bucket,


Or just use seawater. I have never heard of the oatmeal idea, (we just eat mussels directly from the sea) but cockles are depurated overnight in a bucket of water.


Gosh, but with that lovely clear seawater up where you are, I'd be using seawater too (and I've had good mussels straight out of the sea at Lochalsh). Depends where you are really. I believe its safer to feed them overnight in salty water, but I've never been of the view that it is particularly dangerous not to do so.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8399
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 09 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

This is a good site to guage where it's safe to pick.
I'm assuming the EA measure harmful mico biology in their tests.
I'd still be wary of anything below excellent as moluscs could build harmful levels over a period of time from a moderate amount of pollution.

maryf



Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 341
Location: suffolk
PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 09 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I've collected mussels, winkles, cockles and samphire in various places along the Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk coasts, I usually just rinse them in a bucket or bowl of tap water a couple of times then cook them straight away. I've never had any problems, but I have heard about oatmeal for mussels. I've also had fresh water oysters from a friends farm reservoir - not quite foraging but excellent eating!

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8399
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 09 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

can anyone tell me how strong the brine should be.
I watched HFW but can't remember.

ros



Joined: 19 Jul 2005
Posts: 2469
Location: Beds
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 09 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I think sea water is 3 to 4% , so somewhere around there should do it

frankbeswick



Joined: 12 May 2006
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 09 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Check the local fisheries committee for your area so that you can find out what is permitted and what is not. rules vary according to the area.

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