This simple homemade pickled samphire really does have the taste of the British seaside in every bite. Pickling the samphire means you can enjoy it’s salty almost asparagus flavour for longer.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Pickled samphire is not something you can buy in the shops so it’s rather special.
- The taste – this is the seaside in a jar!
- Pickled samphire is super easy to make and takes hardly any time at all.
I’ve just been lucky enough to spend a week in Tenby in Wales helping friends who are working on St Catherine’s Island and Tenby Fort. Whilst on the island I noticed all the rock samphire growing there and decided to take some home to make my pickled samphire as a momento of my holiday.
Foraging for samphire on Tenby Island
The island is covered in greenery and the air heady with the scents of the wild mint, thyme, samphire and flowers. Thistles, wild cabbage and daisies abound.
It is a walk on the wild side, surrounded as you are by fresh sea air, blue skies, turquoise sea, rocks, sand and of course the ubiquitous seagulls chanting their cry as they swoop and dive overhead, eager eyes alight for the slightest sign that you might be carrying food and thus become a target for dive bombing and crisp/chip theft.
The complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making this recipe can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
What is samphire
Samphire is a succulent plant and a member of the parsley family. It grows on rocky and marshy areas beside salt water. So you will find samphire on shorelines and salt mud flats.
Samphire is a super healthy greenery from the seaside packed with minerals and nutrients.
There are two types of samphire – marsh samphire and rock samphire.
Marsh samphire is the more common of the two and often found in marshy areas near the sea, river estuaries etc.
Rock samphire as the name suggests, grows on rocks, usually high up in seaside settings. Many years ago harvesting rock samphire was a dangerous trade as many fell from the rocks while gathering the samphire. Rock samphire is slightly larger with thicker stems than the marsh variety.
Samphire is in season from late spring right through the summer months.
Names for samphire
This delicious seaside plant is often called sea asparagus or baby asparagus. It is also referred to as Glasswort (because it used to be used in the manufacture of glass and also soap!), sea beans or mermaid’s kiss.
What Does Samphire Mean?
Samphire takes its name from St Peter, or Saint Pierre who is the patron saint of fishermen.
How to get samphire
The samphire that you can buy in the supermarkets is marsh samphire. You can forage for marsh samphire on marshy coastal areas. Foraging for rock samphire can be dangerous.
I used rock samphire for my pickled samphire recipe as I’d picked a batch of it on Tenby island.
What does samphire taste like?
Well, it has a delicate almost parsley-like flavour and is somewhat similar to asparagus, in fact in many places it is called Sea Asparagus.
How do you serve samphire?
You can serve samphire raw as a salad green or lightly steamed or boiled for a couple of minutes and served with butter and a squeeze of lemon juice.
You can also saute samphire with a little butter, it’s delicious.
I decided that in the interests of the larder I should pickle my samphire and have it last just a little while longer.
Ingredients for pickled samphire
There aren’t many ingredients required for making this samphire pickle.
The samphire of course is the most important ingredient. The only other veggie involved is garlic for a bit of extra flavour.
Spices – no pickle is complete without the all-important pickling spices. I have used a combination of black peppercorns, star anise, allspice berries and coriander seeds.
The other ingredients are a bay leaf plus cider vinegar and sugar.
You can use prepackaged store bought pickling spice to make pickled samphire.
Use white wine vinegar if you don’t have cider vinegar. Do not use white vinegar/malt vinegar as it will ruin the pickled samphire completely with its strong taste. Save that for your chips and cleaning the windows!
How to make pickled samphire
This is such an easy recipe to make, you wont beleive how quickly this pickled samphire recipe comes together.
Simply pick over the samphire and rinse under cold water before patting dry on kitchen paper or a clean tea towel.
Pack the samphire into a sterilised jar and add the bay leaf and finely sliced garlic.
In a small non reactive pan gently heat the apple cider vinegar, sugar and all spices until the sugar has dissolved and then raise the heat to boil the liquid for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and pour the hot pickling liquid over the samphire in the jar.
Pop on the lid and leave your samphire pickle to mature in a cool dark place for 1 month for the flavours to mature.
New to preserving? Then don’t panic, I can take you from zero to hero in no time at all.
Just check out these handy articles to get you heading in the right direction fast;
How to make great jam and marmalade
How to make chutney and relish
How to sterilise jars and bottles
Sticky situations – troubleshooting your preserves
How much pickle does this make?
This pickled samphire recipe makes 1 medium sized jar (500ml), just double up the ingredients to make more.
I adored my week in Wales and I shall share a few more photos with you later this week. In the meantime I have my pickled samphire to bring back memories.
How to serve pickled samphire
This simple pickled veggie goes well with salads especially those involving seafood. Think crab or prawn/shrimp salad. It goes well with potato salad too and with juicy fresh tomatoes.
Add some pickled samphire to a fabulous seafood salad wrap for the perfect beach style picnic lunch.
How long will this pickled samphire keep?
You can store this unopened in a cool dark cupboard for up to 6 months. Once opened store in the fridge and eat within a week.
Looking for more fun and easy pickling ideas? Then check these out;
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Homemade Simple Pickled Samphire
- 100 g samphire
- 1 clove garlic finely sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 350 ml apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 6 black peppercorns
- 1 star anise
- 2 allspice berries
- 1 tsp coriander seeds.
- Pick over the samphire and rinse under cold water before patting dry on kitchen paper or a clean tea towel.
- Pack the samphire into a sterilised jar and add the bay leaf and finely sliced garlic.
- In a small non reactive pan gently heat the apple cider vinegar, sugar and all spices until the sugar has dissolved and then raise the heat to boil the liquid for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and pour the hot pickling liquid over the samphire in the jar.
- Pop on the lid and leave to mature in a cool dark place for 1 month.
- You can store this unopened for up to 6 months. Once opened store in the fridge and eat within a week.
If I where to brine the samphire before pickling, would it maintain its crunch better?
Karon Grieve says
This is just how I make this so I haven’t actually tried brining it first.