2nd June 2020

#Food & Drink #Recipe #Youngs #Youngs at home

Foraging on the Coastline- Sea Vegetables

2nd June 2020

#Food & Drink

#Recipe

#Youngs

#Youngs at home

Foraging on the Coastline- Sea Vegetables

 

With the growing popularity of cookery programmes, we have all become a little more knowledgeable with our ingredients and so wild foods being brought to light in TV programmes like the Great British Menu and Master Chef have shone a light on nature’s wild harvest.

While many people know about the range of wild mushrooms that carpet forest floors for a few weeks each year or the growing popularity for foraging of wild garlic in May, not everyone is aware of the wide range of stunning wild sea veggies that they can acquire.

Quite simply, wild sea vegetables are edible plants that grow wild in or near the sea. Because of their proximity to the salty water (either immersed in it or watered by sea spray) they often take on a salty taste.

Because of this salty flavour and their links to the ocean, sea vegetables are perfectly paired with seafood, either as a side dish or more usually as a garnish.

But that’s not the extent of how they can be used, some can be pickled, some shredded into a salad, some can be used to make a salty wild seafood stew, and some can be made into a coastal-style pesto or mayonnaise.

As with all wild foods, their scarcity adds to their allure. They’re not abundantly farmed, so supply is always limited and often irregular but the vegetables below are our most common on the shore lines.

Samphire

An edible sea vegetable generally found around the Mediterranean and on the Western and Southern coast of Britain and Ireland. The most popular and known sea vegetable graces a lot of menus throughout the UK. It’s in season usually between April and September each year. It’s salty with an aromatic carrot/ parsley flavour and is extremely versatile.

Sea Beet

The wild ancestor of many varieties of beetroot, chard and spinach, and you should recognise elements of each in this plant. It grows prolifically around the British coastline and is at its best between March and September. This leaf makes a great base for shoreline salads or turn into a lunchtime soup with flaked smoked haddock.

Sea Aster

Sea Aster’s leaves have a sweet flavour with a hint of nuttiness. They’re generally in season between May and August and like the others on this list they grow in any wet environment, including the coastline. Turn this leaf into a tasty pesto with plenty of hard cheese, cold pressed rapeseed oil, garlic, lemon and pine nuts.

Shoreline Purslane

Also known as sesuvium portulacastrum, this sea veggie can be found on coastlines throughout the world, at its best between March and September. The leaves are the best edible part of the plant, and they have a plump, fleshy feel with a salty taste. It’s jammed with vitamins and minerals and perfectly pairs with lamb and oily fish.

Salty Fingers

Last but by no means least, Salty Fingers originate from the tropical coastlines of America and Asia. They have a salty, slightly bitter flavour that works perfectly with any type of seafood, but also pairs well with meat and wild mushrooms.

Watch and follow more recipes and seasonal inspiration on our Instagram channel!

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