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Marsh Samphire (Salicornia Europaea)

Also known as glasswort, because of its use in glass-making, this grows and thrives in marshy mud flats, estuaries and areas close to the sea. Despite the name, it’s not related to rock sapphire and is in fact a member of the amaranth family. It’s a succulent that looks like a mini cactus but isn’t at all prickly

Marsh samphire grows in the salty marshes and coastal mud flats close to the sea.  

Harvest sustainably, pick or snip a few stems from each plant before it flowers.  Rock samphire was once abundant, but because of over harvesting it became virtually extinct.  Harvest marsh samphire from midsummer to early autumn - it is low growing so this can be back-breaking work.  It continues to grow until autumn but its best in summer before it becomes too fibrous.  Snip off each plant with scissors rather than pulling it up by the roots, so that the plant can grow again.  Keep your ears tuned for the incoming tide.  

Marsh Samphire is rich in vitamins and minerals - Vitamin C and A, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iodine and iron - and full of phytochemicals that protect the liver, heart and cellular DNA.

Pickled Samphire

This keeps for ages, over a year if you really want to.  

Boil 600ml white wine or apple vinegar with 1 Desertspoon of sugar, 10 Peppercorns, 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds, A sprig of thyme for 4-5 minute and use it to cover 225g blanched samphire packed into sterilised jars.  Store in a dark place and leave to mellow for  2 weeks before using.  

This is a recipe by
Darina Allen
View all my recipes

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