Do you enjoy the taste of lobster and crab? Have you ever wondered if there are other crustaceans that you can eat?
There are certain types of barnacles that are both edible for humans and delicious. Barnacle meat is even considered a delicacy in Spain and Portugal. There are also some species of barnacles that are poisonous and can cause serious infections if you come into contact with them.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to eat barnacles.
Can Humans Eat Barnacles?
Believe it or not, humans actually can eat barnacles, depending on what type of barnacle it is. They have been used as a source of nutrition for people around the world throughout history, especially by those who are out at sea.
The Gooseneck Barnacle is one of the most commonly eaten barnacles. This is because it is one of the most easily visible barnacles. It is often found attached to rocks on sandy beaches. Historically, some Christians considered this to be an acceptable alternative to eating meat on Fridays, because they did not consider barnacles to be either animals or fish.
Gooseneck barnacles are sold across certain parts of Europe, particularly in Portugal and Spain.
How Do You Eat Barnacles?
There are a few different ways that you can eat barnacles. One of the most common ways to eat barnacles is by preparing them as percebes. This is a type of Spanish delicacy.
Barnacles are generally cooked by boiling them in salt water. The meat inside of the barnacle is very delicate and has little flavor on its own. This is why a lot of people like to season the barnacle meat, but most people recommend that you not add too much seasoning or else you overwhelm the flavor.
In fact, a lot of people who enjoy the taste of barnacle meat feel that the best way to prepare it is to simply spice it up with salt and a little bit of lemon juice. As an alternative to lemon juice, a lot of people also like to season their barnacle meat with garlic sauce.
What does barnacle meat taste like? Most people compare the taste of barnacle meat to the taste of other crustaceans, particularly crabs and lobsters.
Are Barnacles Parasites to Humans?
Some varieties of barnacle can in fact be parasites, and some of them can even infect humans. Depending on the species of barnacle, you can become infected if contact with a barnacle breaks your skin.
If this happens, you should immediately clean and disinfect the wound with clean water that you did not get from the ocean. If there is any debris in the wound, you need to scrub it clean.
Even if it is relatively uncommon for a barnacle to become a parasite for a human, it is common for certain types of barnacles to become parasites to other animals, especially other crustaceans.
The rhizocephalan barnacle is one of the most common types of barnacles and it is a common parasite in other crustaceans. These barnacles infest the crustacean’s body and spread around. These have a serious harmful effect on the crustacean’s health. They are able to damage the animal’s behavior and its appearance.
What Happens if You Touch Barnacles?
Unless you know that a barnacle is safe to eat, you should be careful not to touch it with your fingers. Barnacles can have sharp edges that can hurt you and make you sick.
Touching a barnacle will not automatically lead to infection, but it is a strong possibility. This is why you need to immediately clean and disinfect the wound if you touch a barnacle and it breaks your skin.
What Lives Inside Barnacles?
While nothing “lives” inside of a barnacle, they are still surprisingly complex organisms. Barnacles are able to secrete a form of hard calcium that is like fast drying cement.
In fact, this is said to be one of the strongest glues to naturally exist in the world. This cement is actually so strong that there are scientists who study it to recreate it for commercial use.
Barnacles also get their food from an appendage called the cirri. This appendage quickly extends and retracts through an opening at the top of the barnacle’s hard calcium shell. This lets the barnacle collect food and warns it of potential predators.
What Do Barnacles Eat?
Barnacles mostly survive and thrive by eating plankton. They are able to find this plankton using the cirri. In addition to eating plankton, barnacles are also able to get their nutrients from eating algae and other simple life forms.
Where Do I Find Barnacles to Eat?
Barnacles generally need to live in a marine or salt water environment in order for them to stay alive. They can live in remarkably diverse and even hostile environments though. For example, they are known to live in places like intertidal zones and underwater volcanoes. They also tend to attach themselves onto things like rocks, buoys, and vessels.
In fact, moving objects are great places for barnacles to live. They thrive especially when they are attached to the hulls of boats and ships, as well as large aquatic animals like whales.
Barnacles Have Meat, Does This Mean They Are Animals?
Barnacles are a type of animal. They are considered arthropods and they belong to the crustacean class. This means that they are cousins of other crustaceans like crabs, lobsters, and shellfish.
The primary difference between barnacles and these other crustaceans though is that barnacles do not need to move their legs.
Instead, their legs evolved over time to become the cirri that they use to feel around for food and look out for predators. These cirri are also used to absorb oxygen from the water that they inhabit. Other differences between barnacles and other crustaceans is that they do not have a heart or eyes.
You can eat some species of barnacles, especially if you enjoy the taste of crustacean meat. However, some species of barnacle are also toxic, so you should be careful about how you handle them.