UK supermarkets have reported soaring demand for samphire, the salty coastal sea plant also known as sea asparagus, thanks to TV cookery shows.
Over the last year, sales of samphire, a healthy accompaniment to fish, have rocketed by 80% at Tesco, thanks to its popularity as an ingredient on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen and Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch.
The plant grows naturally near estuary waters and tidal creeks but for the second year running is being commercially harvested for the supermarket in the Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire – an area renowned for the quality of its asparagus. The grower uses glasshouses to replicate coastal temperatures and growing conditions to ensure tip-top condition and flavour.
Samphire, Sea Asparagus
“Until about five years ago, samphire was still only really known by foodies but since being championed by chefs such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver it is becoming a mainstream delicacy,” said Tesco vegetable buyer Bart Vangorp. “Unless you lived near the sea it was quite hard to find, which is why we decided to stock it to make it easier for our customers to buy.” …Samphire (also known as glasswort) is not really a seaweed, but grows in the tidal zone on muddy, sandy flats, often around estuaries and tidal creeks. A succulent plant of the
Samphire (also known as glasswort) is not really a seaweed, but grows in the tidal zone on muddy, sandy flats, often around estuaries and tidal creeks. A succulent plant of the salicornia species, it resembles a miniature cactus without the spines. In season from mid-May until October, it is best prepared by either lightly steaming or sautéing it. Young shoots can be eaten raw and enjoyed for their crunchiness. [continued].