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Samphire (Salicornia Europaea)

Also called Marsh Samphire and Glasswort (as it used to be collected and burnt, in the manufacture of glass). Samphire grows wild on the shorelines of Europe, North America and Northern Asia; it resembles a bushy green leafless plant up to 40 cm in height, but most of us will find it in good fishmongers during the summer months. Old English spellings include sampere and sampier, revealing the plant's associations with St. Peter. While in medieval London it was called 'Crest Marine'.

Another variety 'Rock Samphire' (Critimum Maritimum) is found clinging to cliffs.

The woody stems need to be discarded, the remaining soft green branches are excellent quickly boiled or steamed and served with butter as a fish accompaniment. An initial quick blanch in boiling water is recommended, as if only cooked once it can be too salty for most palates. It can be eaten raw (but is rather chewy) and also pickled

It will keep in the fridge for over a week, if wrapped in a damp cloth - but will lose some crispness. Samphire freezes well, and can also be pickled. See our Mail Order Section

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton French Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Suitable for beginners upwards. Small classes.

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Mon 29th July 2013 by Kirstymac


What did you like about the Encyclopedia Entry?

Everything you need to know about samphire! I live near the marsh variety. My Auntie Linda said the rock version appears in King Lear!

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