While at the bush doof, our hostess Gabby introduced us to samphire, an Australian native succulent that is sometimes called sea asparagus. Salty and crisp, it’s an unusual flavour but fits in nicely with a range of cooked and raw dishes.

Samphire, January 2012
Samphire is sold in small punnets like strawberries.

Samphire, January 2012
The green water plant is salty and succulent.

Samphire is rich in vitamins A, C, B2 and B15, amino acids, iron, calcium and magnesium. Although it grows wild in many places, samphire is being cultivated for the restaurant and retail trade by the Snow River Station.

It’s new to us, but different varieties of samphire have been collected and eaten around the globe for thousands of years. In the British Isles, collectors on the Isle of Wight would risk their necks to climb down the cliffs to gather it for pickling, transport and sale in London. In King Lear, Shakespeare writes, “Half-way down, Hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade!”

With a global movement to return us to healthy eating habits, samphire is a great plant to get to know. It complements many cooked dishes or can be eaten raw. Why not see if you can source samphire where you are?