FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the difference between cultivated abalone and wild abalone?
West Coast Abalone is a farm where we grow abalone from sperm and egg in seawater tanks on land. It takes 4 – 5 years to grow an abalone to a size between 150 – 200g! These are known as cultivated cocktail abalone.
Wild abalone have spent their life in the sea, and are protected, should not be removed from their natural habitat and not be eaten! Generally these are the abalone that are poached, and we only get to see the empty big abalone shells on the shore which are left behind by the poachers. An abalone shell of about 15 – 20 cm in length can be around 20 years old or even older!
How can I order if I am in South Africa?
Please order on our online shop by Wednesday afternoon for collection at our farm gate in St. Helena Bay between 11am and 12 noon. Your email should include your name, address, contact number, the amount of cans / kg live abalone you want and which sizes. Should you not be able to collect you are welcome to organize a courier.
How can I order if I am outside of South Africa?
Please send your enquiry to email@example.com who will then advise you further.
Why do I have to order by a specific day?
We are a working farm and need to keep to specific schedules for local and international orders. Live, fresh abalone have to be sorted and purged before being sold to customers and we need at least 2 days notice to be able to prepare your order for you.
What are your products and prices?
Local orders within South Africa: Please check on our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/westcoastabalone for our latest products and pricing. International orders: Please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you have a Facebook Page?
Yes we do – https://www.facebook.com/westcoastabalone. Please pay us a visit and like or follow our page.
How do I cook the abalone?
First of all, cooking abalone is easy. There is nothing complicated about it. How you cook it is literally answered by saying – if you can imagine abalone in your dish – add it in! So abalone can be prepared in many ways – from sushi style- but only if super fresh, to fried, to steamed, to deep fried, to baked, or even boiled e.g. in a seafood potjie. Any which way goes. It either has to be cooked very quickly or very long, otherwise you risk the abalone meat becoming tough. It is similar in its cooking properties to calamari. Cultivated cocktail size abalone has the advantage of really tender meat.
Our favourite way to cook fresh cocktail abalone (after shucking and cleaning) is to give it a quick steam of about 4 minutes in a steamer on the hob (shorter if steaming in the microwave). And then to add it into our favourite recipe towards the end – stir fry, or as a starter with lemon and garlic. The short steam consistently gives a very tender meat texture.
Remember the canned abalone is already cooked and very tender – so this you can just add in towards the end of the cooking step, just to heat and blend with the flavours. A bit of the brine can also be used to flavour your dish e.g. in risotto, or as a binder in abalone fishcakes – this will add a fantastic depth of abalone flavour. Just remember the brine also has salt in it, so keep tasting as you add.
Check out our favourite recipes on our website. Feel free to send us pics and recipes of your abalone dishes to our email address or post on our FB page.
Do you have a shop?
No we don’t. However, we do have a depot in Cape Town where you can collect your order.
Do you do tours through the abalone farm?
Unfortunately not, due to Covid and biosecurity restrictions.
Is buying abalone from West Coast Abalone legal?
It is 100% legal. As a farming operation we have all the necessary permits and rights from DEFF (Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries) to be able to legally cultivate abalone.
We are allowed to sell abalone (fresh and canned) to individuals for private consumptions.
What if I want to resell the abalone I bought, or sell it prepared as a menu item in a restaurant?
This requires slightly more work from both of us – first of all you need to do this through a registered company. There is currently an exemption for retailers, wholesalers and restaurants to resell cultivated abalone without needing a permit. This exemption is valid until 30 September 2021, after which it will be reviewed by DEFF. Please contact us for more details if you are interested in reselling the abalone or serving it in your restaurant.
Is eating abalone ethical?
Yes – absolutely! Cultivated abalone is actually on the SASSI GREEN list – which means no holding back, eat as much as you like with a clean conscience! SASSI stands for South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative. Cultivated abalone is sustainable and no threat at all to wild stock of abalone.
Can I transport it to a different town?
Yes. Please keep your invoice on you while transporting the abalone you bought from us.
What is the drained mass of the cans?
The drained mass of all our whole piece 425g cans is 213g. The rest is made of a salt brine in which the abalone has been cooked. It can also be used in recipes for extra flavour.
How do the size classes work?
We sell abalone in size or rather weight ranges. For example, if you order the size class of 110g – 150g the individual abalone will weigh anywhere between 110g and 150g. This means that on average you will be getting between 7 and 9 abalone per kg. Our price list on our FB page gives the weight range for each size class and also how many abalone you can expect to receive per kg.
Does eating abalone have any health benefits?
Absolutely! In Suleria et al’s scientific paper (referenced below) the researchers investigate abalone as a source of bioactive molecules for therapeutic application. They found that abalone specifically, has a variety of important bioactive molecules including polysaccharides, proteins and fatty acids. These molecules are believed to provide anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombotic and anti-microbial activities! Other research published adds anti-aging, anti-arthritic and anti-hypertensive to this already impressive list of health benefits. What better way to improve your health and boost your immune system than to eat delicious abalone?
H. A. R. Suleria, P. P. Masci, G. C. Gobe & S. A. Osborne (2017) Therapeutic
potential of abalone and status of bioactive molecules: A comprehensive review, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 57:8, 1742-1748, DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2015.1031726
How can I contact you?
Please try first to email us on email@example.com.
Our phone number is +27 22 742 1844.
How do I prepare (shuck and clean) the abalone for cooking?
1. Hold abalone in your hand with the foot facing you and locate the head. Slip a tablespoon/soup spoon between the head and the shell and move it down towards the left while putting pressure onto the end of the spoon which is resting against the base of abalone foot where the meat attaches to the shell. Increase the pressure against the shell until you feel the “give” of the meat being released from the shell.
2. Gently lift the abalone foot out of the shell and pull the guts off the shell carefully.
3. With the scissors or a knife cut along the edge of the top of the foot to cut off the guts. Follow the circular line of the foot where it attached to the shell. Discard the guts and the shell.
4. Snip or cut behind the head downwards to remove the hard cartilage part of the mouth. Clean under running water and remove any bits you may have missed.
5. Optional: put pressure on the meat to relax it and/or mix coarse salt with the meat which will make cleaning easier. Leave for an hour or two.
6. Use a small brush to brush the frill and the bottom of the foot to remove the black epithelial layer.
7. Rinse and cook according to your recipe.
Download Our Brochure
Should you wish to become an agent or stockist of our abalone, please contact us.
West Coast Abalone Pty Ltd
Cape St. Martin Road
Cape St. Martin Private Nature Reserve
St. Helena Bay
+27 22 742 1844