Samphire; heaven sent from the sea, soaked with magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium and plump with fibre, vitamin A, B vitamins and vitamin C. But to get this good stuff out you have to get past a rather salty taste and so the plant is usually steamed, boiled or fried by landlubber luddites to remove some of that realness. The stalks get woodier as they grow so best picked in July and August, but this pickling recipe will soften and reverse that texture. As you can see I’m happy as a pig in shit, stealing these green glowing fronds of goodness from the good lord Poseidon.
All these pickling recipes are my own as they have a unique twist. With this one, I imagined making something that a treasure toting black spot dodging pirate might be able to pack with him to avoid getting scurvy ‘pon the seven seas.
Cue, relevant tangent. Recently my wife, the girls and I were enjoying the afternoon sun out on our little decked area, when all of a sudden I noticed Luna plucking and shovelling little berries in her mouth like her life depended on it. Cue frantic finger bashing on this keyboard to work out what these juice laden little black beads were and praying they weren’t poisonous. Turns out, thank f**k, the Sambucus nigra Black Lace – or Black Elder Sambuca Plant produces sweet tangy edible berries after a few years growth. And in this moment when heart returned to chest, I knew what would cut with the samphires sea saltiness perfectly and boost the Vitamin C levels too.
With dried juniper berries thrown in too and the apple cider vinegar acidity this brew becomes a pulse popping tangy concoction that brings you a sharp slap with saline simmerings that pair just right.
This pickling recipe is for a 0.35 litre jar.
- 120g samphire
- 25g elderberries
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 clove of garlic sliced
- 300ml Apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp any brown sugar
- several dried juniper berries
- a few black peppercorns
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
Rinse the samphire, more so if you’ve wrenched it from mother nature yourself, then pat dry on paper towel. Pack into the jar with the sliced garlic and bay leaves. Throw the peppercorns, juniper berries and caraway seeds in a hot pan and when it begins to smell aromatic pour in the cider vinegar and sugar and boil for 5 minutes. Now tip the hot pickling liquid over the jar contents.
You can now tighten that lid and this will be ready to nibble in a few weeks and will last several once opened.