Here is the introduction to the section on coastal shore based plants, with a look at Seakale first, for the next coastal survival hand book I’m working on now, handbook number 3. (Find the first two handbooks in our shop page)
Roots, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds are available as food and can be found along the foreshore, above the high water mark, the backs of beaches or shallow rock faces.
Prior knowledge of edible food groups is an essential skill to prevent misidentification, many plants found on land can be poisonous, some even fatal.
Luckily there are a few plants that are superior in their food values, that grow on and amongst the sand, shingle and rocks, that are easily identified and well distributed around the world.
Seakale is undoubtably the heavy weight champion of all coastal wild food plants, giving you a balance of leaves, flowers and roots, but especially the roots as a major carb supply.
The young stems are full of rich electrolyte juices and vitamins, the flowers are the most sweetest of all, with a honey like aroma and taste.
The roots of the Seakale, sometimes massive and relatively fairly shallow rooted, are a great source of potential energy.
First we need to carefully take off a few side shoots, often their the newest and tender growth (leaving the main root tap intact to continue growing)
You can eat them uncooked, but calorific conversion is improved by 100% when cooked to a state that the structure can easily be crushed or mashed.
The stems to the young leaves are the upper part of the plant to go for first, often hiding in the middle of the larger foliage, it’s these stems we are after, they give an instant drink and nourishment all in one go!
Larger more mature leaves will require cooking for longer to break the tougher fibres and cellulose structures. The big leaves make excellent sacrificial food wrappers, for small shellfish, fish and even the roots……