Discover: Rock Samphire

The month of May is always a delight in the calendar. Plant life really starts popping and the warmth of the air starts to settle, as spring eases into summer. We’re turning our attention to Rock Samphire this week, as it begins to adorn our coastal hedgerows and paths. It's one of our favourite coastal botanicals and has contributed to the distinct flavour of our first non-alcoholic spirit ADRIFT.

Rock samphire, or Crithmum maritimum is a perennial sea cliff plant, known for its herbal, citrus and aromatic flavour. It’s a succulent, which has woody stalks and fleshy leaves. A wild, edible evergreen packed with flavour, vitamins and antioxidants. It’s mostly found near coast paths and is one of the many treasures the coast has to offer.

Hugely popular in the 16th and 17th centuries, it was commonly brined or pickled. It’s prolific on the coast due to the salty sea air, which encourages long roots to form which in turn gives it its flavour.

It was also commonly eaten by seafarers as a valuable aid for the prevention of scurvy. Rich in vitamin C, vitamins E and K, iodine, carotenoids and flavornoids, as well as antioxidants, fatty acids and omega 3 - this wild edible boasts a range of health benefits too.

It’s at its most tender and delicious just before it flowers, which is usually in June. So now is a great time to pick some if you come across it. A wonderful fresh garnish in drinks, addition to a salad or does well pickled or brined too. Enjoy!