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Samphire - how can you go wrong with it? Like this...

Normally, I try and post recipes or reviews I think you might like - places you might want to go, or ideas for dishes you might want to cook.

But sometimes, knowing what things don't work is just as useful as knowing what does.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my latest culinary learnings: don't freeze samphire.

Samphire is a relatively new addition to my rotation of vegetables - it's most often served with fish, so it's not something that I'd obviously come into contact with much previously. But when I saw a few slabs of it on sale at The Grocery, its novelty value meant I stuck a packet or two in my basket.

I fried it off with a bit of oil and some lemon juice. I really liked it - it was kind of salty, had the tang of the sea about it, and a really interesting texture, firm and bouncy - a bit like cactus.

So I cooked it again. Then again. And again. But I still had great swathes of it left - there's only so much samphire you can eat in any week.

I cooked what was left and froze it, then forgot about it for a few months, until a freezer clear out put it back on the menu.

And that's where it went so deeply wrong. The water that gave it that fun cactus texture leeched out when it was defrosted - and losing all that water also meant the salt content went way, way up. It was wilty, briny, and just not right.

So, next time you're tempted by samphire, be parsimonious with it - don't buy too much, and whatever you do, don't freeze it.

(Here's the recipe I used, and would use again, only this time with fresh samphire - Samphire with red chilli and olive oil, from the Independent website. I cooked it up with Redwood's fish-less fingers, minted peas and spuds.)

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  1. Thanks for the tip! I've never even heard of samphire, so I'll have to keep my eyes out for it. It looks good, though. I've had my own troubles with freezing things not meant to be frozen. Don't freeze pasta salad with beans. Not good thawed. Don't freeze a whole package of Follow Your Heart cheese. Opposite result of samphire - so watery it could hardly be used. Shred it first, then freeze. Lessons learned.

  2. Blanche for a minute in boiling water then freeze it


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