Rock Samphire

Rock Samphire has been regularly consumed as part of a traditional Mediterranean diet.

It’s time to bring this delicious vegetable back into our kitchens and dining rooms.

Since ancient times Rock Samphire, also known as Sea Fennel, has been extolled as fine food.

One Greek legend mentioned it as one of the vegetables served to Theseus by Hekate.

Scientific Name

Crithmum maritimum.

Family

Apiaceae.

Botanical Description

A smooth, fleshy, much, branched plant with 2-3 ternate leaves; compound, many rayed umbels of white to yellow-green flowers; and short, smooth fruit.

Status

Perennial. Native.

Habitat

Rocky coasts and seacliffs.

Parts Used for Food

Leaves, flowers, seeds.

Harvest Time

March, May, June, July, August, September, October, and December.

Food Uses of Rock Samphire

The leaves are rich in phenolic acids, easily absorbed through the intestinal walls. This makes the leaves very beneficial antioxidants and helps prevent free-radical damage to cells.

Traditionally the leaves were picked in May and made into a delicious pickle.

In many countries, the leaves are used in soups, sauces and salads.

The often-overlooked seeds are great in cheese dishes, and I use the seeds as part of my wild spice mix.

Nutritional Profile

Very rich in vitamins A, C, B2, and B15, amino acids, and minerals.

Rock Samphire is known to contain about thirty essential oils, such as gamma terpins (found in citrus fruits), sabinene (found in carrots), beta phellandrenes (aniseed, celery, fennel) and methylthymol (Thyme).

Rock Samphire Recipes

Herbal Medicine Uses of Rock Samphire

The plant isn’t used that much these days in herbal medicine.

Traditionally it was meant to be a good diuretic and was often prescribed as a treatment for obesity.

It is considered excellent for curing flatulence and as a digestive remedy.

It was also a treatment for kidney stones.

A decoction of aerial parts harvested before fructification has been used against inflammations of the urinary tract and prostate.

Safety Note

Considered safe.

References

Cornara, L. et al. (2009) Traditional Uses of Plants in the Eastern Riviera (liguria, Italy). Journal of Ethnopharmacology. [Online] 125 (1), 16–30.

Renna, M. (2018) Reviewing the Prospects of Sea Fennel (Crithmum maritimum L.) as Emerging Vegetable Crop. Plants. [Online] 792.

Leave a comment