How to Remove Whelk Shells

Updated April 17, 2017

A whelk is a tasty type of seafood. Whelks are pale brown mollusks with a yellow or white shell exterior. Harvesting mollusks is relatively easy to do, you just have to leave the beach for a day and comb the muddy sands for whelks at low tide. Finding them is easy, but it can be tricky to shell them unless you know how. It's well worth making the effort to find out, because a fresh whelk is every bit as delicious as an oyster!

Cook the whelks. The edible part of the whelk is the foot, which has a white surface speckled with black dots. Boil the whelks for five minutes. Boiling will loosen the muscle fibres and allow them to break down, making it easier to remove the meat from the shell. You can then stick a fork or a toothpick into the cavity of the whelk shell and pull the body all the way out or the shell.

Wash the whelk. Rinse the cooked whelk under running cold water for a few seconds to remove any remaining sandy grit. While you have taken the whelk out of its hard outer shell, there still remains a small section of hard shell (the operculum, which is used as a trapdoor to cover the whelk body inside the shell and conceals it from predators) which needs removing; this can simply be slid off.

Remove the remaining waste product. Take off the intestines, which are on the side of the meat. The intestines will have a slimy texture and a black underside. The meat will be more substantial to the touch and larger than the intestines.

Things You'll Need

  • Cooking pot
  • Boiling water
  • Toothpick/sharp fork
  • Knife
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About the Author

Nicolette Smith has worked as a professional copywriter since 2007. She has experience writing for a variety of industries including the pharmaceutical, software, publishing, financial and entertainment industries. She has written for "The Herald Express" newspaper and the website On the Box. She earned a Bachelor of Laws in European law from the University of East Anglia.