Nature
Foraging the sea

The whole coastline of the UK, seaweed sways amongst the deep waters. Sloshing with the waves, ebbing and flowing with the tide.

Foraging the sea

3 min read
Nature

Around the whole coastline of the UK, seaweed sways amongst the deep waters. Sloshing with the waves, ebbing and flowing with the tide.

To most passers by on a coastline walk, seaweed is nothing more than a humble sea plant that is washed ashore in various shapes, shades, textures and colours. But to a keen forager, these fresh sea greens are there to be foraged and eaten. reconnect to the natural world through the simple act of gathering plants. Truffles of the sea.

It is low tide as I carefully navigate my way across slippery seaweed-covered rocks in my Wellington boots. There is bladder wrack is everywhere, dominating the rocks in the mid-tide zone, but this is not the seaweed I have come in search of today.

I scan the nearby rock pools and see the first one, with its unmistakeable bright green colour popping amongst the X. Sea lettuce, Ulva lactuca. I crouch down, scissors in hand, and snip away a handful of translucent ruffled fronds and drop it into my aluminum can.

“Once we have tasted this wildness, we begin to hunger for a food long denied us, and the more we eat of it the more we will awaken.”

Stephen Harrod Buhner — The Secret Teachings of Plants

I continue my walk out toward the ocean, passing mounds of Sea spaghetti (Himanthalia elongata) that has been swept up by the tide. As the name suggests, this tasty and edible species can be treated like pasta. But despite looking fresh, these piles of detached sea greens aren’t fit for eating. Seaweed has to be foraged fresh. And besides, sea spaghetti only ever grows at the lowest of tidal zones. I’ll have to venture further out if I am to forage this one fresh.

At high tide in a rocky cover Somewhere along the Cornish Coast, fresh seaweed sways with the surf. A swaying tangle of algae (sea spaghetti, laver and sea lettuce) As the ebbing tide drops back the seaweed is revealed, Draped over rocks and X amongst rockpools waiting to be found by a passing X foraged.

At high tide in a rocky cover Somewhere along the Cornish Coast, fresh seaweed sways with the surf. A swaying tangle of algae (sea spaghetti, laver and sea lettuce) As the ebbing tide drops back the seaweed is revealed, Draped over rocks and X amongst rockpools waiting to be found by a passing X foraged.

At high tide in a rocky cover Somewhere along the Cornish Coast, fresh seaweed sways with the surf. A swaying tangle of algae (sea spaghetti, laver and sea lettuce) As the ebbing tide drops back the seaweed is revealed, Draped over rocks and X amongst rockpools waiting to be found by a passing X foraged.

At high tide in a rocky cover Somewhere along the Cornish Coast, fresh seaweed sways with the surf. A swaying tangle of algae (sea spaghetti, laver and sea lettuce) As the ebbing tide drops back the seaweed is revealed, Draped over rocks and X amongst rockpools waiting to be found by a passing X foraged.

At high tide in a rocky cover Somewhere along the Cornish Coast, fresh seaweed sways with the surf. A swaying tangle of algae (sea spaghetti, laver and sea lettuce) As the ebbing tide drops back the seaweed is revealed, Draped over rocks and X amongst rockpools waiting to be found by a passing X foraged.

Here is an extract from Stephen Harrod Buhner’s classic book The Secret Teachings of Plants:

One of our greatest fears is to eat the wildness of the world.

Our mothers intuitively understood something essential: the green is poisonous to civilisation. If we eat the wild, it begins to work inside us, altering us, changing us.

Soon, if we eat too much, we will no longer fit the suit that has been made for us.

Our hair will begin to grow long and ragged.

Our gait and how we hold our body will change.

A wild light begins to gleam in our eyes.

Our words start to sound strange, nonlinear, emotional. Unpractical. Poetic.

Once we have tasted this wildness, we begin to hunger for a food long denied us, and the more we eat of it the more we will awaken.

It is no wonder that we are taught to close off our senses to Nature.

Through these channels, the green paws of Nature enter into us, climb over us, search within us, find all our hiding places, burst us open, and blind the intellectual eye with hanging tendrils of green.

The terror is an illusion, of course. For most of our million years on this planet human beings have daily eaten the wild. It’s just that the linear mind knows what will happen if you eat it now.

But we’ve gone astray with this, distracted from our task. Still, it’s a good reminder.

When your hair begins to grow long and you think strange thoughts, sometimes you will wonder what is happening and will become afraid.

In Nature, human markers fade, lose significance. It takes awhile to learn the old markers again, to see the path that ancient humans took before us.

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