Edible Molluscs A-Z

Safety equals success when it comes to foraging for food, and sure identification is an absolute must when gathering anything from the wild for you or your family’s consumption. If you are in any doubt at all about what exactly it is you have collected, then you must discard it immediately.

This list will grow with this blog so keep checking for new entries. Click on the name of each mollusc for the corresponding blog post

The Common MusselMussels

  • 5mm-15cm (if you’re lucky!). Recommended size for collection – upwards of 5 cm.
  • An ear-shaped bivalve, deep blue, with patches of light blue, grey and white. Waves of shallow grooves ripple along the shell which is often covered in barnacles.Mussels
  • Habitat: On rocks around the coast, and occasionally attached to seaweed.
  • Season: Avoid between May and August.
  • Similar Species: None.
  • Important: Ensure that the area from which you collect your Mussels does not harbour a sewage or other industrial outlet.

WinklesWinkles

  • A snail-like mollusc with a deep-blue/brown shell with almost snake-skin markings. Recommended minimum size for collection – 13mm.
  • Habitiat: On rocks and in rock pools all around the coast.
  • Season: Avoid May-September
  • Similar Species: Dog Whelks and Top Shells – though both, too, are The Winkle and the Dog Whelkperfectly edible. Dog Whelks are generally paler in colour, but their absolute distinguishing feature can be found on the underside of their shells: Winkles always have a perfectly round opening, whereas Dog Whelks have always a single groove (see picture, left.).
  • Important: Ensure that the area from which you collect your Winkles does not harbour a sewage or other industrial outlet.
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