All along our 3000km South African coastline, we have a wealth of delicious and nutritious marine macro-algeae, or seaweed as it is more commonly known. Our inter-tidal rock pools offer us an exciting range of seaweed – around 850 species! But it is important to learn how to collect them sustainably and how to prepare them deliciously.

Here are some rules to remember when out foraging for your next meal:

  1. Always be sure the sea you are collecting from is not polluted.
  2. Collect at the low tide, closest to the tide line as possible.
  3. Never pull seaweed off a rock, rather cut pieces off with a pair of scissors leaving its “holdfast” attached to the rock so that the rest of the plant may regrow.
  4. Only cut 1/3 of the seaweed.
  5. Only pick seaweed for culinary use that is attached to a rock, don’t collect any you find floating or washed up on shore.
  6. Only pick seaweeds that look healthy and clean.
  7. Only pick what you need!
  8. Don t collect any unusual seaweed that is sparse in the rock pools, only what you see growing prolifically in the area.
  9. Only collect what your permit allows.
  10. Respect all wild life when you forage. Take care where you walk.
  11. Sustainable harvesting ensures regrowth, conservation and abundance for animals, sea life and for yourselves for the next season.

 

Harvesting seaweed. Photo: Christopher List.

Harvesting seaweed. Photo: Christopher List

A great seaweed to start with is one of the most common: The sea lettuce or Ulva. This bright green soft seaweed is very tasty and can be cooked many ways. It is great as a snack fried in a little coconut oil sprinkled with salt and pepper, marinated in a Chinese style dressing and used in salads, eaten raw off the rocks or used like spinach in cooking. Here is a cheesy sea lettuce scone recipe we like to call Sea Biscuits because when you eat them, it brings back the memory of the beach. Always rinse your seaweed well to get rid of sand and shells and never pick seaweed from polluted waters.

 See also http://scenicsouth.co.za//2013/11/a-coastal-foraging-expedition-seaweed-superfoods-fresh-and-free-from-the-sea

SEA BISUITS

Ingredients:

2 cups of flour

2 tbs baking powder

2 tbs sugar

pinch of salt

100g butter, chilled and chopped into blocks

100g cheese, grated

1 cup of sea lettuce – Ulva

1 cup of yoghurt

drop of milk

 

Method:

Combine flour, salt sugar, baking powder in a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour mix until it resembles a crumbly shortcake consistency. Mix in the chopped up seaweed and cheese. Add the yoghurt and use a knife to cut it into the flour mix until a soft dough is formed. Add more flour if too sticky. Roll into a long fat snake on a floured surface and cut into 4cm slices. Place on greased oven tray, brush the tops with milk and bake in a preheated oven at 160deg until golden brown.

 

Sea Biscuit recipe from Roushanna Gray of Good Hope Nursery. Photo: Christopher List.

Sea Biscuit recipe from Roushanna Gray of Good Hope Nursery. Photo: Christopher List.

 

Roushanna Gray

Good Hope Nursery

To find out more about the Fynbos or Coastal Foraging expeditions contact Roushanna on 021 780 9299 or email her at roushanna@hotmail.com