Desang diabetes magazine, diabetes news

38

FOOD making carbs count

Britain's salty secret

If you are looking for something a bit different,

samphire season is almost upon us. By Judith Ozkan.

Now that spring seems to

have sprung and summer is

not too far behind, it's time

to think about seasonal

foods and dishes. Samphire's delicate

green plants will soon be poking

through the mud at an estuary or

coastline near you.

Samphire - which is named after

Saint Pierre, or Saint Peter (the

patron saint of sailors)- was once

widely foraged for free up and down

coastal areas of the UK. In recent

years it has become sought after as a

versatile and valuable accompaniment

to fish and meat or served as a meze

or tapas. It even makes an interesting

and colourful garnish for gin

and tonic.

Emerald-green and spiky in

appearance like a miniature cactus,

it grows well along the coastlines of

northern and southern Europe, happy

to be fed by the salty water. Marsh

samphire or Salicornia europaea

is a member of a plant type known

as Amaranthaceae that thrive as

succulents around marshes and

mudflats. A close relation is rock

samphire or Crithmum maritimum,

which as the name suggests can

be found high up on rocky cliffs.

Rock samphire tends to be less

succulent than the marsh variety

and more difficult to harvest than

its mud-loving cousin, which is the

main variety sold in the UK. Rock

samphire does however get a mention

in Shakespeare's King Lear*: 'Halfway

down hangs one that gathers

samphire; dreadful trade!', although

the reference is not complimentary

to people who gather or eat the stuff,

for some reason that has been lost in

time.

Mud larks

There's no need to hang 'half-way

down the rocks' or wade through

the tide, as marsh samphire is easily

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