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Sea Beans

Definition: Sea Beans

Mysterious green plants known as sea beans have becoming increasingly prominent at farmers markets and restaurants. Although their scientific name is salicornia, they are frequently referred to by many names, including pickleweed, glasswort, drift seeds, sea asparagus, sea pickles, and marsh samphire.

Their vivid green stalks, which grow on salt marshes and beaches, have a crunchy texture and a briny flavor with a vegetal aftertaste that's been likened to asparagus. They can be eaten raw, but have a high sodium content, so often they are blanched to remove some of their saltiness. Sea beans can also be sautéed, steamed, pickled, and even battered and fried.

Photo by flickr user foodistablog

Join The Conversation
hfield hfield 7 years
Hi my dad has picked, cooked and eaten sea asparagus for years, here in Victoria bc I am trying to find out how much sodium it actually has, say her cup, or pound. I can find it says lots, but not an acutal number
Soniabonya Soniabonya 8 years
I never heard of these until a couple days ago on an epsiode of Chopped. :) They look mighty interesting and I wouldn't mind giving them a shot, though as the judges said on chopped, they should be soaked in cold water first and then blanched.
emilynotail emilynotail 8 years
Gone are the days when it was a seasonal freebie used to cement the relationship between a fishmonger and his most favoured clientele. It's become too trendy! In the UK we call it samphire. I always thought of it as a seaweed even though technically it isn't. Delicious steamed or boiled with some butter and lemon.
chancleta chancleta 8 years
Who they look kinda yummy and I tend to be tentative about veggies.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Those sound really good for some reason. I've never seen them, but if I run across them I will give them a try!
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