Foraging Beaded Samphire and some mud sweat and cheers
Friday, 24 August 2012
I had a chance to taste Beaded Samphire (Sarcocornia quinqueflora) recently. Also known as Bead Weed, Beaded Glasswort or Glasswort, this succulent occurs along the coast of Australia and New Zealand.
We were on a bit of an adventure when this edible plant was pointed out to me...
We participated in a National Parks and Wildlife Service volunteer adventure called 'Mud Sweat and Cheers'. We kayaked to a remote section of Hunter Wetland National Park and helped with much needed weed control. It was a fun adventure and I'll definitely be participating again next year.
To find out about this and other National Park adventures in NSW keep an eye on the Wild Wild World website. There's some great school holiday activities coming up.
The Beaded Samphire (the bright red seen above) grows within an ecological community called Coastal Saltmarsh. Coastal Saltmarsh occurs in areas that are intermittently flooded by medium to high tides and the plants are specially adapted to highly saline environments (saltier than the sea).
As you can imagine given its preference for super salty environments, Beaded Samphire tastes - salty.
I only tasted this little bit. Not only did it not taste very nice, I was in a National Park where its illegal to pick plants and the plant is part of a threatened ecological community which is protected from activities like picking and clearing.
So Beaded Samphire is something I'll mentally file under survival knowledge rather than forage regularly. If I'm ever in the unfortunate and unlikely situation of being stuck in a coastal environment and super hungry I'd eat Samphire fresh or blanch small lengths of the new growth, or if I happened to have some vinegar on hand I'd pickle it. It's apparently most tastiest when steamed or blanched and is described as delicious, crunchy and slightly peppery. Although, it appears there's some variation between species in palatability. Loads of websites rave about how delicious Samphire is - but what is called Samphire in the UK or USA is a different species to what we have in Australia and New Zealand - Sarcocornia quinqueflora. The stems of S. quinqueflora has a fibrous woody core that makes the plant much less appealing as a vegetable or pickle.
Have you been foraging lately?
This post is part of the Foraging Friday series. I’m on a mission to learn more about foraging and am sharing a Foraging Friday post each fortnight – on the Second and Fourth Friday of each month. I welcome you to join me by sharing a recent foraging experience in the comment section or by leaving a link to your own Foraging Friday post.
Foraging Friday #2 Native Raspberry