Marsh Samphire is an edible glasswort, Salicornia stricta, found in salt marshes and on beaches, while Rock samphire is Crithmum maritimum, a coastal species with white flowers. Both produce slender, fleshy stems which are boiled in plain water and served as an accompanying vegetable with butter and salt, the diner removing the succulent fleshy parts from the woody stalks with their teeth.
Samphire Photo: Barry Dale
Samphire takes its name from the fisherman Saint Peter, and is referred to in King Lear: "Half-way down, Hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade!"
Gerard's Herbal of 1597, and other sources, refer to it as pickled with oil and vinegar as an accompaniment for meat.
The huge pile of chalk dug to create the Channel Tunnel, deposited near the White cliffs of Dover is known as Samphire Hoe.
Bolton Market, 2013
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