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Posts Tagged ‘foraging’

Edible Beach Treasures: A Seaside Smorgasbord!

Posted by E.G.D. on January 25, 2018

White Sands National Monument

Soaptree Yucca at Dusk (Bits of This Plant are Edible!)

Once upon a time, I lived in Honolulu, and I have a number of Hawaiian friends who were happy to find and eat raw sea creatures on day trips to the beach.  It’s part of the culture, though I have to admit, I found it a little bit yucky.  You see, while thousands of people worldwide associate beach trips with seafood, I happen to be a vegetarian.  The situation got me asking this question, though: what is a person to do when he or she is a vegetarian at the beach if he/she forgot to pack a picnic?  After a bit of research, I now know that depending on the time of year and the specific beach, a vegetarian might have even better luck foraging for food than the shellfish eaters!

Now, of course, some of these edible plants are all kinds of obvious, like coconuts when you’re in Hawaii (or other tropical islands/ archipelagos) or like shallow-water seaweeds when you’re in Japan.  Some of these things are less obvious, but are still quite easy to identify when you know what you’re looking for.  Here are some articles with great pictures that can help you locate, identify, and prepare these specially edible beach treasures:

Seagrape_(Coccoloba_uvifera)_shrub_at_Playa_Lucia,_Yabucoa,_Puerto_Rico

Edible Sea-grape.  Photo by Drew Danielson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

1. The first article is from Sanibel Sea School:

5 Edible Plants on Sanibel

Four of the plants are recommended for their fruits, and one for its leaves, and they all look delicious! If you’re planning a foraging expedition in Florida, this is the article for you.

2. The next article is by Real World Survivor:

8 Edible Wild Coastal Plants

This particular article is delightfully specific in its plant descriptions and recommendations for what bits a person should eat!

3. Our third article is actually more like a very long, detailed list!  DIY Wood Boat gives us the names and regions of a truly remarkable number of edible beach plants:

Edible Seashore Plants and Seaweed

It doesn’t give you much by way of pictures, but once you have the names and regions where the plants can be found, I’m confident you could google yourself some reference images!

4. Next is a UK specific article from Goeff’s Fungi & Foraging:

Coastal Plants

The article is informative, the reference images are lovely, and the author appears to be happy to answer specific questions about forageable beach plants, which is a really cool perk.

5. My last article selection is from Rhoscolyn Life:

Edible Coastal Flora to Look Out For

Seeing as Rhoscolyn is a British village, this one is also UK specific.  I especially like this article for its helpful tips about how best to prepare the various coastal vegetables.

To wrap things up, there are all sorts of edible leaves, seeds, and fruits on the seashores of the world, but please bear in mind that some are protected, like sea oats, and some can resemble other plants that are actually poisonous, like several varieties of berry.   Believe it or not, falling coconuts can also cause grievous bodily harm!  I suppose my ultimate conclusion is forage away, beachgoers, but know before you go.  Also, don’t forget to invite me to your picnic ^_^.

'BEWARE_FALLING_COCONUTS'_sign_in_Honolulu,_Hawaii

Photo by Wmpearl (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Flora | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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