Pipis harvesting

Where we live this is the end of the school holidays.  Last week, we went for  few days to the Great Lakes area in NSW. If you that does not ring a bell, think Seals Rock-Blueys Beach-Boomerang Beach-Forster area. That area has long white sand beaches with barely anyone on them.  We went  pipis hunting, or rather pipis harvesting.

What are pipis?

Pipis are clams, in other words, a small edible bivalve species fund in Australia between the QLD/NSW border all the way to South Australia.

pipi clam
A pipi on the sand exposed by a strong wave, quick pick it up!

Pipis are also known as also known as Coorong cockle, eugarie, Goolwa cockle and ugari (Ref – Sydney Fish Market).  Pipis live ten to twenty centimeter deep in the sand in the intertidal zone of the surf.  You will often see pipis shells along the foreshore in areas where these clams are present.

If not harvesting them, you can find pipis at fish mongers, especially in ares with asian communities.

Pipis harvesting

Rule of thumb as for any foraging: only take what you need, no more.

The second consideration is the location of the area. Check, there may be restrictions.

pipi clam
An average size pipi

Last consideration is the size.  Where we go, when pipis in an area are all below 2 cm large, this is probably because they are either over-harvested or not so happy there, I don’t take them then, as normally they would be around 5 cm large.

Be ready to get wet! One way to go about it is to do the “pipi danse”. That method is very popular with children, more fun! It consists of swinging your legs when the wave come up so your feet “dig” into the sand, this will expose pipis or you will feel them with your feet.   The other way is to dig with your hands here and then, this method is generally quicker. Watch out for those bigger waves!

Pipis are really quick at burrowing in the sand, so when some get exposed you will need to be quick and pick it up.

pipi dance
The pipi danse
pipi clam
Keeping an eye out for those pipis



















How to cook pipis?


Pipis live in the sand and open slightly to filter water and feed themselves.  As a result, pipis shells may contain a fair bit of sand.  You will need to desand them by placing them overnight in a large bowl with cool water and salt (30 g / L of water).  If you place them in the fridge, they will not open up and release the sand.

Pipis cook quickly and require heat.  The most simple way is with salted butter and crashed garlic.  Place the butter and garlic in a saucepan or tall edge frypan and once the butter is melted throw in the pipis. Cover with a lid. You will see and hear all the pipis open up. Once they are all open, remove from the heat and serve straight away with a large salad.

You could very well add some fresh chilli during the cooking, or 1/2 glass of dry white wine. You can also used a tomato base to cook them in.

pipi clam


Foraging for mulberries

Today, when we went back to our car after a few hours spent at the beach, we saw three young girls rushing away from a front yard with something that appeared to be very precious in the hands.  They were mulberries. The careful attitude had a lot to do with avoiding having blackened hands and squashing the fruits! This did it for us, it was time to go and check our neighbourhood trees and go foraging for mulberries!

Mulberry Trees

Mulberry trees are not an Australian native tree species and because of that, many councils have simply cut the mulberry trees over the last five to ten years.  In our area, this has not yet been the case.  The tree we went to is quite large, the season is just starting.  The fruits this year do not appear to be very big but there are plenty.

mulberry tree


A child’s adventure

This foraging expedition is best shared with children.  The children love it!  They get really excited, so I got them to gather our “kit” and we were ready.  We took boxes and a stool and off we went.

The first berries are easy to get to…

Then, a bit more strategy and skills are required…


The other solution? Shake gently one branch and gather the fallen fruits, it is quite effective.

Now, our rule is to gather just what we need and no more.   It is a lot of fun and a great adventure!

After that, when we got home, we washed the fruits and removed the stalk. As a result, we did end up with fingers very purple, most of it has not washed off.

Mulberry Pie

The end purpose of collecting mulberries was to make a mulberry pie.  It is after dinner now and the left over of our pie is standing on the dinning table not far from me, I can smell its distinctive fruit and buttery aroma!

The full recipe can be found on its page HERE.

mulberry pie

mulberry pie

mulberry pie




Classic Mulberry Pie

If you have some mulberry trees in your neighbourhood, you could try to collect some of the fruits and bake this classic mulberry pie.

You will need about 2 L of mulberries.  Your fingers will get quite coloured by the juice, it takes a few washes to wash off, otherwise use thin nitrile or latex gloves.

mulberry pie

For the short crust pastry.

The quantity below can be a bit tight (you have just enough), so feel free to increase it by half to give you some space to move, that new quantity is noted into bracket.

  • 100 g of butter softened (or 150 g)
  • 200 g of plain flour (or 300 g)
  • some cold water, about 1/2 glass (about 3/4 of a glass)
For the filling:
  • around 2 L of fresh mulberries
  • 4 tablespoons of flour
  • 4 tablespoons of white sugar
  • Whipped cream – for serving

1. Prepare the shortcrust pastry

Place softened butter cut in cubes and flour together in a bowl.  Rub the soft butter and the flour together until all of the butter sticks to the flour. Add water little at the time to obtain an homogenized ball.  If you have put too much water, add 1 teaspoon of flour at the time.  Wrap in cling-wrap and rest for at least half an hour at room temperature before using.

If you want to see pictures and tips, consult my page dedicated to shortcrust pastry.

2. Clean the mulberries gently and drain. Remove all the stokes.

3. Mix to the mulberries, the flour and sugar.

4. Divide the dough in 2 pieces, one slightly larger than the other. This will be the bottom part.  Roll the dough (you will know when to stop, the dough should not be forced, it will spread under the push of the roller to its final size).  Place the dough over the tart tin.  If you have only little extra, do not remove it, if you have plenty extra, cut the pastry 2- 3 cm away from the edge.

5. Place the fruit mix in the pastry. Level.

mulberry pie

  1. Fold back the edges. You could very well choose not to place a lid and eave it as such, it would be beautiful.  I like this as a pie.  Roll the second part of short crust pastry. Using the point of a knife, cut a disk of diameter slightly smaller than the diameter of your pie.  Using a kitchen brush (use your fingers if you do not have any), brush the top of the lower pastry with milk and then place the disk over the top of the pie.  You can decorate with lines or other patterns traced with your pointy knife as wished, ensure you do not cut through.  Brush the top of the pie with milk or with eggwash (a beaten egg with drop of water).

mulberrie pie

  1. Bake in preheated oven at 170 °C until golden.  Allow to cool partly before serving.  Serve with whipped cream.


mulberry pie


mulberry pie