Rock samphire on Crete (Greece)

During my vacations in Greece I always wondered how many wild greens are widely appreciate in their kitchen and how Cretan are really champions in that.

All these greens helped this population to survive the World War II occupation, many other wars, hunger periods and “simply” the winter.

Today I will tell you something about rock samphire I found this beautiful and delicious and I hope that this article will spark interest in wild greens and what the nature can offer to us.

Rock Samphire is also known as ‘Sea Bean’, sea fennel, crithmus, camphire, sampere, Peter’s cress is the sole species of the genus Crithmum, a member of the Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) family, as such it belongs to the same family as the carrot, pignut, caraway and chervil.

It is an edible wild plant found abundant on southern and western coasts of Britain and Ireland, on Mediterranean and western coasts of Europe including the Greece, Canary Islands, North Africa and the Black Sea on the rocks by the sea.

In Greece Crithmum maritimum is known as κριθαμος (Kritamos). In effect in ancient Greek cuisine it was widely used in salads and was preserved in brine and used during the winter. It was mentioned already by Dioscorides (Διοσκουρίδης) and Pliny (Πλίνιος)!

It has been characterized as rich in vitamin C, is a diuretic and anti-microbial. It is also appreciated for tis essential oils and mineral salts as for example iodine.

In Greek cuisine it is used preserved in brine, as salad and as flavoring for the preparation of various dishes.

This plant can be distinguished by its long, fleshy, bright-green, shining leaflets and umbels of tiny, yellowish-green blossoms. The whole plant is aromatic and has a powerful scent.

The plant flowers between June and September but the weeds are at their best before it flowers and should be picked between the spring and early summer.

The picture I will show you here were taken in October early in the morning on Crete (Greece). It was a gorgeous natural garden a real delight for the eye.

Recipe: Preserved rock samphire

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