Jersey Ormer

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Other common names

Ormer Abalone and Green Ormer.

What are my special features?

The Ormer (Haliosis tuberculata) has a fairly wide geographic range. The northern limit extends to the Channel Islands and southern limit extends to Senegal, Africa (the highest density of Ormers occurs at the northern limit)

The Ormer can be likened to a flattened snail with a whorl and is ear-shaped with iridescent mother of pearl inside and a greeny brown almost rock coloured outer surface. They have 6 or 7 respiratory holes and can live for up to 15 years, by which time they may reach 150 mm in length. Ormers attach to rocks on the seabed by a muscular foot and this foot along with the short stalk is sought for food.

A long cooking process is needed to present Ormers at their best. Ormers should be boiled in fish stock for several hours to avoid a tough, chewy texture. Ormer stew which involves Ormers being steeped in juice for a long time until soft is said to be one of the joys of a Jersey winter.

What is my history?

Ormering is deeply embedded within Jersey life and long hours are spent, by young and old alike, searching for and gathering this delicacy. The Ormer evokes an emotive response within the Jersey community.

As well as being valued as a culinary delicacy, much of the English furniture of the 18th and 19th century with mother of pearl inlay is Ormer shell from the Channel Islands.

Why am I forgotten?

Various restrictions have been implemented within Ormering. Following disease in the 1990’s commercial gathering was banned limited gathering for personal consumption is permitted, but no diving or diving apparatus are allowed.  As Ormers live on the lower shore, access to the areas can only be obtained on the big ‘spring’ tides. As a further protection measure, a gatherer may only catch Ormers on the day of the new or full moon and the 3 following days, between 30th September and 1st May.

Due to low and sensitive stocks, strict restrictions apply to Ormer collecting and commercial use.

Don’t lose me… cook me!

 

Product Category:

Fish

Area of Production:

Jersey

Slow Food UK contact:

arkoftaste@slowfood.org.uk

 

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