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Bowl of cockles

Cockles

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Cockles are small shellfish with a salty flavour that are popular all over the world. Find out how to select, store, prepare and cook fresh cockles.

What are cockles?

They may be most associated with Dublin, but cockles are available all over the world. Their small, heart-shaped shells contain a small, delicate morsel of flesh that can be eaten raw, steamed or boiled. A member of the clam family, although cockles may seem like a lot of work for little return, they have a delicious salty flavour that needs to be treated gently.

When are cockles in season?

All year round.

Choose the best cockles

Choose cockles with pale shells, as this indicates lighter flesh which is said to taste better.

How to prepare cockles

Cockle shells are often full of sand so they should be soaked in fresh water for several hours before eating.

How to store cockles

Refrigerate in a bowl under a damp cloth and use within 24 hours.

How to cook cockles

Eat raw, served with vinegar and brown bread. Alternatively, boil or steam the shells, or use in soups and stews.

Alternatives to cockles

Try mussels or oysters.

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