Preparing seaweed

How to prepare foraged seaweeds

After coming in from the beach at Cornwall, Caroline showed me how to prepare the seaweed we had brought in that day. In particular, I needed to wash the laver, sea spaghetti and sea lettuce.

Preparing the laver;

Put the laver in a large dish and fill with cold water. Pick up the laver a handful at a time, keeping it under the water. Still holding the seaweed under water, shake the sand out from the folds in the leaves of the laver. Transfer the handful into another container of cold water. Do this until the bowl is empty – there should be a lot of sand in the bottom of the first bowl. Keep rinsing and repeating until there is no sand in the bottom of your bowl. Drain the laver and either dehydrate or cook as planned.

How to prepare wild foraged laver cooking school

Cornwall cookery school seaweed wash helpx travel

Laver seaweed cooking preparation Cornwall Fat Hen


Laver takes a really long time to wash clean, but at the end you end up with wet, strong sheets of fine laver seaweed. It is thin as paper, strong, flexible and in its current raw state, very chewy.

Ways to cook with laver:

Caroline recommends dehydrating and crushing the laver into large flakes in a pestle and mortar, and adding them to recipes a tablespoon at a time. The range of recipes these can be added to is very broad, don’t be afraid to experiment! Caroline often makes a seaweed focaccia she sprinkles them over before baking, and I like to add them to chicken soups for the flavour. Here you can find a recipe for cockles, laverbread and Welsh bacon, and another for a slow-cooked pork and laver casserole.

Preparing sea spaghetti;

I washed the sea spaghetti second, and it was so much easier than the laver was! We did pick the sea spaghetti on a rockier beach, so the minimal sand that was clinging onto the sea spaghetti just slid off the slick strands.

Sea spaghetti gets washed off in a similar way to laver. Fill a bowl with cold water and add the spaghetti, shaking sand off in the water to sink to the bottom of the bowl. The sea spaghetti is washed when there is no sand remaining in the bottom of the bowl.


Foraged food sea spaghetti travel uk

 Foraging sea spaghetti seaweed Cornwall cookery

Recipes for sea spaghetti;

Sea spaghetti can be cooked like regular greens and added to pasta, or blended and added to tapenade. Here is a recipe for sea spaghetti and kale salad with fresh ginger here, and a carrot and sea spaghetti salad.

Caroline had pre-picked, washed and/or dried some of the other seaweeds including the kelp and pepper dulce for the workshop. After a few hours picking, washing and preparing the foraging workshop seaweeds, we had the following selection:


Foraging sea weed cookery school uk Cornwall

Another interesting fact about seaweeds and foraging is that the only seaweeds poisonous to humans grow deep underwater. Anything you find growing, attached to a shoreline is at least non-toxic. It might not taste great though. This is why finding and working with Caroline over the last few weeks has been so valuable in our travels. She has shown us so much!



Foraging for seaweeds in Cornwall.

More seaweed recipes.

About kellymarietheartist

I am an artist who, up until recently, was living and exhibiting within Toowoomba and the greater Granite Belt district. I have since packed up and left Australia, and am currently living and working in England. My work engages the craft involved in handmaking within a contemporary art context. I am drawn to the physicality of repetitive textile processes, and this is transcribed though the tactile quality of my forms. In particular, processes such as crochet, sewing and rug making serve as a proxy for growth within my personal environment. Many of my works imitate situations in nature, and they form organically as I create each individual piece, each addition both a continuation and re-enforcement of its predecessors. I enjoy using recycled materials for many of my works. Using crochet and other textile techniques to do this is an important part of my work as it celebrates a tradition of craft that has historically been relegated to 'women's work', with all the negative connotations that entails.
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2 Responses to Preparing seaweed

  1. Pingback: Pickled Alexanders, leek bulbs and flower buds | kellymariemcewan

  2. Pingback: Helping out at a wild foods cookery school in Cornwall, Penzance | kellymariemcewan

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