Though there are two types of samphire - marsh and rock - only marsh samphire is widely available. Marsh samphire has vibrant green stalks, similar to baby asparagus, with a distinctively crisp and salty taste. It can be used raw in salad, though it tends to be very salty so it is more often boiled or steamed for a few minutes. Rock samphire has a rather unpleasant smell and flavour. Occasionally you may also find jars of pickled samphire in gourmet shops.
Choose the best
Buy bright, fresh looking plants with no signs of wilting.
Wash thoroughly under cold running water before eating.
Buy samphire as you need it - it doesn't keep for long. If you must, tightly wrap and refrigerate for not longer than a few days.
Steam over a pan of boiling water for a couple of minutes and serve with melted butter.