Pronounce it: sam-fire

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.


Samphire is at its best in July and August.

Choose the best

Buy bright, fresh-looking plants with no signs of wilting.

Prepare it

Wash thoroughly under cold running water before eating.

Store it

Buy samphire as you need it – it doesn't keep for long. If you must, tightly wrap and refrigerate for no longer than a few days.

Cook it

Steam over a pan of boiling water for a couple of minutes and serve with melted butter.


Try asparagus.

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