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Freediving for food – Part 5 – Coastal foraging – Marsh Samphire

Ok… so i know this isn’t freediving, but its a nice walk nonetheless.

Marsh Samphire is a succulent marine plant that likes to grow in the high tidal regions of estuaries and tidal embankments. It is quite delicious and will work brilliantly cooked alongside your fish, crustaceans or molluscs, tasting similar to salty asparagus when cooked.

I’m writing this post as its just started to be worth picking again; the tips start to be visible in May but are only really big enough to be picked during June-July.

You will find it in the high tidal areas, normally on sandy/muddy substrate. See the below picture for an example of how it will grow, following a certain tidal height.

The plants themselves almost resemble little cacti (although with no spikes!).  Cut them rather than pull them out (scissors are the best tool for this), as they will keep growing if you leave the root intact, plus they are easier to clean and prepare later. They can be eaten raw.

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They will grow to about 20cm tall, here they are perhaps 8cm tall at the most. Try to pick it either young or, later in the season, just pick the tips as the base can get quite tough.

Once you have got enough, and have made your way home, you will need to wash the Marsh Samphire thoroughly. As they grow in estuaries, they can be coated in dirty water or other muck that you wouldn’t want to eat.

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In the above picture you can see the washed Samphire, ready to be cooked. On the right is some Sea Beet that i collected on the same walk, read more about Sea Beet in my book, ‘Underwater foraging – Freediving for food‘.

If you want to cook Marsh Samphire you can quickly fry it in butter (my favourite), boil it or steam it. Samphire works really well if you put a bunch of it in with a Sea Bass foil parcel and bake.

Remember you can learn more about Marsh Samphire or Sea Beet on one of our courses of from my book.

Enjoy!

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