Sea Vegetables Mix Photo © Puntarelle&Co Ltd
Foraging for nutritious vegetables from our sea shores is underway and we have a small amount of these delicious low-carbon additions to the vegetable basket this week.
Sea Purslane - Crammed with vitamins and minerals, the saline blueish-green leaf of Sea Purslane is picked from its woody stem. It can be found almost year-round in salt marshes but is at its best right now. Eaten raw, its saltiness means it’s best used as a garnish. Briefly boiling or steaming removes some of the salinity, but don’t do so for too long as you want to retain those nutrients. A knob of butter, a squeeze of lemon and a little pepper is all it needs before serving. You can also turn it into a pesto.
Sea Beet/Sea Spinach – Found growing on shingle beaches, cliffs and saltmarshes, this is a close relative of the Beet family which includes Beetroot, Swiss Chard, Spinach and Sugar-Beet. Found on upper beaches, it grows year round but is at its best in Spring/Summer. Only its leaves are used, steamed, boiled or wilted. If you like Spinach you will love Sea Beet.
Sea Rocket – Not native to our shores but this peppery leaf has naturalised. Smelling distinctly peppery and similar in flavour to the Wild Rocket you find inland, and can normally buy, its harsher growing conditions mean the heat quotient of this peppery leaf is turned up a few notches on what you may be used to.
Marsh Samphire (also known as Pickleweed or Poor Man’s Asparagus) – We have a little early Samphire, a truly seasonal treat. The name is thought to be a corruption of the French herbe de Saint-Pierre. The fleshy stems of this crunchy, salty, native marsh-grass have a flavour somewhat similar to Asparagus. Its mineral salinity is perfect with fish. Best eaten simply steamed and tossed in butter.
Seablite (also known as Seepweed or Seaspray) - This bushy plant is one of the Suaeda group. Bearing a resemblance to rosemary in form, can be steamed, stir- fried or briefly boiled and lightly dressed with a vinaigrette, or tossed in melted butter. It can also be dried for use in soups through winter.