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Monday 15 March 2021

About Guernsey - The Ormer

Hello my lovelies!

Today I’m talking positively raving about ormers. 

Ormers, oh how I have missed you.



I ❤️ ormers.  Heavens, I even have gold jewellery  homaging these meaty mulluscs. 


So, what are ormers?

Quite simply put, an ormer is an edible sea creature. 

First, let’s take a look at the ormer’s home, it’s shell, it’s packaging. 

The inner nacre-covered shell of the ormer. 

My gold ormer jewellery, for imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 

The rougher outer shell of the ormer. 

The cooked ormer. 

It’s been 50 years since I got my gnashers into this local delicacy, which is harvested from our shores at just a few spring tides a year. 


My patience was rewarded recently when my sweet and kind Insta mate Kay from @kayed77_  shared with me her hubs’ catch. 

But what exactly are ormers and what makes they so special that I’m raving on about them like a mad thing?

Well, here’s a little bit more detail

Ormers are found on shorelines from just north of the equator and no further north than the Channel Islands. 

The mulluscs live on lower rocky shorelines, which are only exposed a few times a year in the colder months and at extremely low spring tides.

Guernsey’s tide varies by up to 10 metres and only low tides reaching that upper limit give access to the ormers’ habitat. 

A bit of topical fun 

Ormers may only be gathered a few days either side of the ormering tides, which coincide which specific full moons. 

Harvesting these shoreline sensations involves  rummaging around rocks, most of which are partially submerged in icy cold water.  Thus the ormer catcher spends much of his (or her) time wading in freezing water, and sometimes up to waist height.  
It’s not a pursuit for the faint-hearted, that’s for sure. 

To prevent over-gathering, ormers must be eaten within a few days of catching, or pickled for later use.  Under no circumstances may they be frozen. 

Cooking Ormers

The meaty ormer innards need to be tenderised before cooking. 

They are then tossed in seasoned flour and

 fried gently in guernsey butter - and these ormers did not disappoint!

My personal preference is to eat the ormers fried, as above, but some then make them into a stew.  

I am not that person. 

As a thank you, I baked these kind ormer gifters a ginger and date cake and gave them a bottle of Sauvignon to slosh it down. 

These sweet people sent me pics of them enjoying the thank you goodies. Aren’t they lovely?

Thank you soo much Kay and Paul 🙏🙏💋💋❤️❤️



Hugs, Mary x. 

#ormers #ormercatch #ormertide #guernsey #guernseylife #guernseytogether #thisisguernsey #visitguernsey #guernseyfood #guernseybutter #seashorefood #guernseyormers #brucerussellgoldsmiths

They are then tenderised by bashing them with a rolling pin between two tea toe


  1. I had not heard of ormers, the shell looks like what we call abalone here in California. Sea otters and people love to feast on them and they are harvested here just as you describe. Abalone can be harvested almost as far north as San Francisco. You and your friends know how to treat each other, well done.

    1. Well I guess they are of the same family as the abalone, so thanks for sharing the info Terri. I hope the people in California enjoy them just as much as we do here in Guernsey. Yes it was so kind of my friend to think of me and I was over they moon grateful!
      Higs Mary x.

  2. Well everyday's a school day! I have never heard of ormers but thanks to you I now know all about them. If they're from the sea I guess I'll like them.

    Loving the gold ones!

    A lovely bit of reciprocity going on there in Guernsey.

    Take care

    1. Haha Vronni. I guess because they’re not found any further north than here the ormer is pretty unknown in the UK. I’m sure you’d enjoy this pretty unique taste though. And yes, a great example of reciprocity going strong in the community eh.
      Hope you’re having a good week,
      Hugs x.

  3. This is a new one for me, but what does this landlubber know? I do love scallops, clams and lobster kind of stuff so I can only imagine how good they have to be.
    But, wow, you have to work for your supper don't you. I take it that they can not be professionally harvested?
    Take care, Terri

    1. They have a different texture to all the seafood you mentioned Terri, much meatier if that makes any sense. Apparently American and Australian abalones are similar. And you’re right, they are for personal consumption only, and if baking a cake gets me to consume a few, I’m happy!
      Hugs x.