Boiled Samphire

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Wash the samphire leaving the roots intact, tie in bundles and boil in shallow, unsalted water for 8–10 minutes. Cut the string and serve hot with melted butter and pepper. Each stem contains a woody stalk and the way to eat them is to pick them up by the root and bite lightly on them, pulling the fleshy part from the woody centre. Samphire is a real delicacy and should be tried at the first opportunity.

Method

Pickled Samphire

Marsh samphire may be pickled for winter use. Wash the samphire very thoroughly in fresh water and trim off the roots. Put into a pan, cover with clean water and add 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Bring slowly to the boil and then boil for 10 minutes. Drain and put into preserving jars. Cover with cold vinegar and seal tightly with vinegar-proof lids. It is ready for use straight away but will keep right through the winter. The samphire must not be overcooked or it will lose its lovely, bright-green colour. It is nicest if pickled in spiced vinegar. This recipe was given to me by Mary Norwak.

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This is a very traditional dish which is mentioned in most of the herbals. I put a large jar out when we had a picnic with the British Mycological Society (the mushroom crew) and it disappeared down their gullets before you could say ‘puffball’.

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