The vinegar is supposed to break down the shells, but some people prefer not to use it. Cockles are also cooked in a steamer with seasoning. They can be eaten hot, cold or fried. Canned versions of cockles are a popular addition to salads, soups and stews, though some people prefer to eat them raw. Fresh cockles are frequently dipped in batter before being deep-fried. aIn the United Kingdom, cockles are sold as a snack in a variety of ways. They are usually served with additional seasonings such as malt vinegar and white pepper. While canned cockles are becoming more common around the country, many can be still found fresh at local fish stalls, shops or restaurants, or in local markets on weekends. In the North East of England, large barrels of cockles are sold in the summer and autumn. They are a type of shellfish that is classed as an “edible part fish” and is found on the British menu as an alternative to shrimp or scallops.
Cockles have a sweet taste. They are not as salty as bigger clams and, hence, are preferred by some people with salt-sensitive diets.
The cockle industry is sustainable as all of the cockles are caught in the summer months when there are low tides. The cockles are also graded before collection so their potency is reduced. The shells can be reused for bait or fertilizer.