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Samphire - What is Samphire?

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samphire, glasswort, sea beans

Oysters on a Bed of Samphire

Photo © stockXpert
Definition: There are two types of samphire - marsh and rock. Marsh samphire is the more common and resembles tiny shoots of asparagus but grows on muddy, sandy flats, often around estuaries and tidal creeks and as you can imagine from the location it has a delicious salty taste.

Rock samphire is much trickier and harder to get to, requiring a huge amount of risk taking as it is usually in high, out of the way places. Rock Samphire was even mentioned in Shakespeare's King Lear - "Half-way down hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade!" Needless to say, most samphire is of the marsh variety.

The name is a corruption of "Saint Pierre" - St. Peter - the patron saint of fishermen.

Though it can be eaten raw it is delicious lightly steamed and served with butter and makes a great accompaniment to fish and seafood.
Also Known As: Glasswort, sea beans, baby asparagus

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