Marine vegetables

Marsh samphire and sea lavender

Marsh samphire and sea lavender are unique, salt-loving marine plants that can be found on the edges of the province’s salt marshes, where the land is continually battling with the sea. They are an unusual vegetable; salty with a crisp texture, healthy and delicious.

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Marsh samphire

Marsh samphire is a delightful native vegetable. It looks a bit like a small green cactus without spines. Marsh samphire grows at the edges of salt marshes and in places where there’s little vegetation. Marsh samphire is often the first plant to colonize a mud flat, so you usually find it growing in places where there is more sea than there is land. Marsh samphire roots hold onto soil allowing a salt marsh to form. This makes them truly pioneering plants.

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The taste of marsh samphire

Marsh samphire continually soaks up salt water and has a salty flavour as a result. It’s also packed full of vitamins that it absorbs from the surrounding seawater. Whilst being a salt-loving plant, marsh samphire needs fresh water to germinate. Lots of rain in early spring is a sign of a good harvest and the marsh samphire is usually ready to harvest from mid-May to early September.

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Preparing marsh samphire

Marsh samphire is best served plainly and cooked so that it’s still crunchy. After you’ve carefully rinsed the marsh samphire (in order to avoid a gritty meal), just blanch it for a few minutes. Then just serve simply with a knob of butter. Or you could also try stir-frying it with some finely chopped onions.