Can You Eat Barnacles? Where To Find Them

Many people may wonder, “Can you eat barnacles?” After all, they taste an octopus. And you can eat them too! In this article, we’ll discuss what barnacles are, where they grow naturally, and how to cook them.

Can You Eat Barnacles 3

Hopefully, you’ll be inspired to try this tasty seafood! So go ahead and get your bare hands dirty!

What Are Barnacles?

If you’re not familiar with the arthropod Barnacles, you’re not alone. This species belongs to the subclass Cirripedia of the Crustacea phylum, making it a closely related species to lobsters and crabs. Barnacles are marine animals that prefer shallow tidal, and erosive settings. In fact, the name ‘barnacle’ is derived from its erosive habit, which may be a result of their preference for these conditions.

What Are Barnacles

Barnacle life cycle begins with the egg, followed by two larval stages, a juvenile stage, and finally full adulthood. A mature adult barnacle has a mantle cavity that allows it to lay up to six broods per year. Barnacle eggs are laid in winter inside a sac, which hatch into baby barnacles. After hatching, the larva spends six months in a free-swimming state and then transforms into a second larval stage. The second larval stage lasts for only a few days before the barnacle becomes fully independent.

In addition to a hard outer shell, barnacles have multiple plates along their base. These plates are open for feeding but don’t function as legs anymore. They now have special feeding appendages. Barnacles are found on rock, ship bottoms, whales, and mussels. Some of these organisms can live on a rock for as long as seven years. Barnacle larvae are called “suckers” because they are specialized in eating plankton and exchanging oxygen.

Can you eat Barnacles?

The answer is yes, you can eat barnacles! The delicate, meaty sleeve acts like a bag, sealing in the taste of the sea. The mild flavor of the flesh is similar to an octopus. They’re simpler and purer than mussels. These species are commonly eaten raw, but you can cook them, too, for a more elaborate meal.

Can you eat Barnacles

Again, it a yes for the question ‘Can you eat barnacles?’. When eating wild food, you must be prepared for a few challenges. The first is getting the barnacles to cook. You need to boil them in seawater and stir them occasionally. Next, prepare an ice bath nearby. This will prevent the meat from cooking completely. After cooking, discard the water. If you’re not sure if barnacles can be cooked, cook them in the salty water.

The life span of a barnacle depends on its species. It can be 18 months or more, depending on the species. Barnacles don’t move, but their environment is constantly changing, and some species are endangered. The destruction of mangrove forests, as well as deep-sea trawling are two common threats to the barnacles’ existence.

What is Percebes?

Percebes is a special Spanish delicacy which consist of goose barnacles, they are prepare by cooking them with salt water. This barnacles delicacy is cooked just like any other Barnacle’s delicacy. Percebes is a delicacy in Spain which cost around €200 per 2 pounds of servings.

What is Lucifer’s Finger?

Some Barnacles are known as Lucifer’s finger in Portugal, they are very rare bernacles. Lucifer’s Fingers are extremely rare, and can’t be farmed, but they do have one notable characteristic – they live on rocks in the intertidal zone, where waves crash, providing them with plankton to feed on.

What is Lucifer’s Finger

These barnacles are dangerous to harvest, however, as the waves are often crashing on them. Harvesting them is dangerous, as the hunters risk being crushed by the waves and being rendered unconscious. In some cases, they’re so rare that their harvesting has resulted in deaths.

How Do Barnacles Taste?

There are a few different methods for preparing and eating barnacles, depending on your own preference. The meat is delicate and flavorless, similar to that of young lobster or crab. Most recipes call for a little salt and lemon dressing to add an extra touch to the dish. You can also dip them into garlic butter sauces or lemon butter sauces for an extra touch of flavor. You can even prepare your own marinade to use with the barnacles.

How Do Barnacles Taste

Goose barnacles, which are related to lobster and crabs, are especially delicious. They have the chew that’s characteristic of bivalves. To eat them, you have to tear away the protective skin encasing the neck of the barnacle. You’ll have to be careful, as tearing off the skin may cause the barnacle to splash brine all over you. Goose barnacles are particularly appealing since they bear protective plates that look like dinosaur feet.

Are Barnacles toxic?

A rare ancient barnacle, Chaetolepas calcitergum, contains high concentrations of bromine, which is probably stored by the animal to protect itself from predators. This species is so rare that there are only six specimens known in the entire world. It is also difficult for fishermen to notice these creatures, as their size makes them almost impossible to detect. In this study, we learned that bromine is a toxic compound for humans.

Are they toxic

In addition to their toxic properties, barnacles have a variety of life cycles. The larval stage, known as nauplius, is an innocuous filter feeder, which feeds by secreting calcium plates. The cirri (featherlike appendages) of a barnacle form a white cone that can open and close depending on the tide. Although the larva isn’t toxic to humans, it is not recommended for people who are sensitive to toxins.

Where Do People Eat Barnacles?

Barnacles are crustaceans that live on the ocean floor and form symbiotic relationships with other marine animals. Some of them form shells that provide protection and some attach to rocks or hard surfaces to feed.

Where Do People Eat Barnacles

Goose barnacles, in particular, are found mainly on rocks in Spain, Portugal and some other European countries such as North America, and they are a rare delicacy in Spain. They are sold for around $500 a kilogram in Europe.

Can You Harvest Gooseneck Barnacles In California?

The government of Oregon has permitted harvesting on jetties, but has not allowed it on natural rock formations. However, the state is experimenting with different surfaces and glues to allow harvesters to reap the benefits of gooseneck barnacles.

It has been reported that some of the smaller barnacles are reattached to plates to be sold. When harvested properly, gooseneck barnacles are easily eaten by pinching their foot with your thumb and finger. Then, you can bite off the flesh and enjoy a seafood meal.

Gooseneck barnacles are expensive and dangerous to harvest. The long neck is thought to resemble the goose egg, but the flavor is more delicious than its name implies. In California, you can harvest gooseneck barnacles by paying the appropriate license fee. And because goosenecks are edible, they are a popular delicacy. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recommends a small amount of the crustaceans to help you out.

Types Of Barnacles

There are two main sorts of barnacles—acorn and goose. Acorn barnacles are generally recognized by their squat, limpetlike appearance and very tough outer covering made from five calcareous plates, which surround and protect the soft body cavity.

With muscular contractions these plates are often opened or closed, counting on the state of the tide: at full tide, the plates are pushed outwards to permit the barnacle to feed, but because the tide withdraws, the barnacle closes its shell once more , leaving just a small opening for oxygen to enter. Thus enclosed in their shells, barnacles can resist drying at low water .

Goose, or stalked, barnacles differ in appearance by having an extended stalk (peduncle), the bottom of which is attached to the substratum and therefore the main a part of the body (capitulum) poised at the opposite end. The latter is enclosed during a toughened carapace, almost like that of acorn barnacles, while the peduncle is muscular and capable of movement.

Rocks aren’t the sole substrate that attract barnacles. Some species attach to intertidal grasses, while others fix onto the shells of crabs or other molluscs like clams and mussels, where they’ll help camouflage the host animal. Some of them may even become attached to active-swimming species like marine turtles or maybe the fins or other body parts of whales. Floating timber and flotsam, marine buoys, piers and ship’s keels also are convenient anchoring points for several barnacles.

Where do they grow naturally?

Barnacles are marine animals that are found in a variety of habitats. Depending on their species, they may make their home on rock or ship bottoms. You might also find them on crab, mussels, and whales. This species can live up to seven years on one location. They have feathery legs and gills that allow them to suck plankton.

Until the 1990s, researchers believed that the northern limit of barnacles was San Francisco. But recent studies have shifted that limit to Northern California, and it is thought that global climate change is a factor in this.

Also, barnacles are susceptible to sewage pollution, and disturbance may cause them to take two years to recover. This makes it vital to prevent barnacles from affecting our oceans. There are several species of barnacles, such as gooseneck barnacles and acorn barnacles. The latter is usually found in shallower crevasses, while gooseneck barnacles grow on stalks.

How to cook Them

One of the most difficult aspects of cooking with barnacles is acquiring them. Although you can purchase live ones at the local seafood market, you will have to buy them from a specialist. A local market will usually have a supply. They will be quite small, so be sure to buy a few extra pounds. Once you have gathered enough, cook them and enjoy the unique taste!

Fortunately, there are several ways to prepare and eat bernacles. Although the shell is a pain to remove, they’re completely edible. You should steam them in seawater before cooking them, and don’t store them in the refrigerator! Once cooked, they’re best served warm. To avoid spoilage, try twisting off the tube and removing the fleshy portion. Barnacles are best served by the plateful.

The best way to prepare barnacles is to boil them in saltwater for about 10 minutes. Keep stirring them throughout the cooking process, and you should have an ice bath nearby. This will prevent the meat from overcooking. A little bit of salt goes a long way, but it’s still worth it!

Barnacles Recipes

Some people don’t like the taste of raw barnacles, but you can still enjoy them. Goose barnacles are best cooked in water and kosher salt. They’re quite delicate, so don’t overcook them. Don’t use heavy sauces with them, as the flavor of the barnacles will be overwhelmed. You can also use a light dipping sauce to make them more appetizing.

How to Cook Barnacles in a Casserole

The meat of barnacles is a delicate, almost flavorless flesh that has been compared to young lobster and crab meat. Most recipes for barnacles do not call for a heavy sauce or other ingredients. Instead, they are flavored with salt and lemon. For a more unique recipe, you can dip them in a lemon butter sauce or garlic aioli sauce. Here’s how to cook barnacles in a casserole.

Ideally, when cooking barnacles, you should use sea water or a seawater-based cooking liquid. This is because the flavor of seawater will be much more flavorful than normal water. Also, you can add bay leaves if you wish. Once the water boils, add the barnacles and let them cook for at least 10 minutes. After that, remove them from the water and serve them immediately.

Although they are difficult to catch and cook, they have many benefits. The most popular type of barnacle is the gooseneck barnacle, which grows on rocks in the ocean. If you’re looking for the fattest barnacles, try the sun barnacles, which live on rocks and receive constant sunlight. While these are not the healthiest option, they’re a tasty way to prepare your meals.

How To Cook Barnacle Scrambled Eggs


  • 400G-500G Barnacle
  • 3 pcs egg
  • Little salt
  • Some Cooking Wine
  • Chopped green onion


  • Mix the eggs for later use.
  • Rinse the barnacles slightly and carefully.
  • Heat the oil in a pan, then add the barnacles, and fry for a while.
  • Pour in some cooking wine, add a little amount of salt, cover, and allow to simmer for a while.
  • Pour and spread the egg liquid evenly.
  • Turn over after the egg liquid is solidified, and stir-fry for one or less than two minutes.
  • Spread the chopped green onion on it before serving.

Why Aren’t Barnacles More Popular Seafood?

These barnacles are rare creatures on their own, not to mention that farmers and scientists are after these creatures for food and research purpose. They secrete a gluing substance that adheres to their substrate. This gluing substance is among the strongest natural glues, with tensile strength of 5,000 pounds per square inch and adhesive strength of 22 to 60 pounds per square inch. Researchers are working to use barnacle glue commercially. This is one of the reasons barnacles are not popular seafood.

Secondly, these creatures are so hard to harvest to an extent that farmers have to risk their lives to harvest them for food. For this reason, they are very expensive and not all restaurants can afford to add this rare creature to their menu of dishes, this makes it rare seafood that only a handful of restaurants can afford them. 

Health & Nutritional Values

When eating barnacles, you will get a unique taste and nutritional profile. Although 90% of these creatures are water, they are a good source of vitamins and minerals. In addition, their meat is a good source of potassium, which promotes heart health and helps regulate the level of sodium in the body. Barnacles are omnivores, meaning that they can eat a variety of different foods.

The larvae of a barnacle are attached to a surface by digging in. This allows them to create a tube-shaped cavity in the shell that attracts the prongs of a growing whale. The attached barnacle is as firmly rooted as a weed. Once attached, it produces sticky cement. Then, as the barnacle grows, it will attach itself to the surface of the ocean to grow.

Conclusion about Can You Eat Barnacles

The debate continues over whether or not humans should eat barnacles. They are safe for humans, but there are certain groups that should not be eaten. In addition, these barnacles are eating the wrong types of food. Researchers are discovering that they are eating plastic in the ocean. This could be bad news for marine life, and we should not eat these barnacles.

Barnacle meat is flavorless and delicate. It’s similar to crab and young lobster, and most recipes don’t include heavy sauces. Usually, the meat is simply seasoned with salt and served with lemon dressing. You can also serve them with a garlic butter or lemon aioli sauce for a unique twist. You can also try cooking them in the oven to make them more tender. After that, prepare them as you would any other seafood.

Barnacles are not dangerous, but they do have a high likelihood of making nauplii shortly after settling on a surface. In fact, they are so hard to identify that they are poisonous. In addition, eating this species can cause an allergic reaction. For some people, the high acid content of barnacle meat may cause diarrhea, and they can’t tolerate this in their bodies.

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