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Foraged Mussels

If you're near a clean beach on your trip to the great outdoors, why not go foraging for mussels! It's a fun activity for the whole family to get involved with - plus you get a free lunch! Try to pick the larger mussels (about 20 per person). Move down the beach as you pick them. It won't take long to gather enough for a feast.


  • 4 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
  • 330ml good, local ale
  • About 80 foraged or 2 pounds bought, fresh mussels, scrubbed clean and beards / barnacles removed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Handful chopped parsley leaves
  • Crusty bread, for serving

What you'll need

  • Bucket/bag for picking mussels
  • Big pan with lid
  • Spatula
  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • Paper towels
  • Large bowl


Put the bacon into a large pan and cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally until brown and crispy. This should take about 5 to 7 minutes. Next, line a plate with paper towels and transfer the bacon to it using a slotted spoon. Set to one side.

Stir the onion and garlic into the pan for around 3 to 5 minutes or until they become soft and start to brown. Pour in the beer and stir until it starts to bubble then reduce the heat and add the cleaned mussels. Simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on.

Check on the mussels. If any of them have opened, transfer them to a large bowl. Simmer for a further 5 minutes and repeat the last step. Discard any closed or damaged mussels then season the sauce with salt and black pepper. Pour over the mussels and top with bacon and chopped parsley.

Use crusty bread to mop up the sauce and serve with a cold, refreshing beer.

SURF HACK: No beer to hand? You can use the same amount of sea water and add a splash of lemon juice for a tangy finish. Don't like beer? Experiment with wine, or coconut milk and chilli.

Recipe by Surf Cook