Sea beans actually start out on land,there a seed from some kind of tree in the tropics or the amazon. They fall into the inlets and then drift out to see growing as they drift (Crazy eh) then they wash up onto shore somewhere and are picked,harvested,caught? I don't know what to call it,but there pretty cool. I like the crunchy-briney flavor. Great with ginger and lemon grass,
hmpf....pretty weird, so kinda both huh, land and sea....and I guess they are NOT cultivated? I did not cook them but assume they would be a great addition to a fish dish.....I could have alot of fun with these critters.
My favorite Chef Jean Louis Palladin used them in many seafood dishes. Also here is other info:
WHAT? Nautical haricots verts. Popeye may have had spinach, but a seafaring vegetarian's delight is the sea bean. The American sea bean is a type of samphire [SAM-fy-uhr] known as salicornia. Its other aliases are glasswort (it was used to make glass at one time), marsh samphire, and sea pickle. Sea beans proliferate on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Some have spiky green leaves that make the plant look like a skinny miniature cactus without the needles. Others look surprisingly similar to Chinese long beans. The crisp leaves and stems smell and taste like sea salt. Fresh sea beans can be found from the summer through the fall, and are best when used fresh or pickled. When cooked, sea beans have a tendency to taste salty and even fishy.
Also: For his Dungeness crab salad, Mark Dommen daubs the plate with a silky consommé–"crab essence," he calls it–then layers on cool avocado slices, crunchy jicama, briny sea beans, and lumps of sweet crab meat.
Come from the Pacific NW. They're a tidal seaweed that spends 50% in the sea and 50% out depending on tidal changes. They grow in rocky crags and are very healthy as well. There are many varieties of these though and I'm sure some are harvested differently
This is quite the intriguing thread... when I visit, you'll have to direct me to where I can get some. I would love to try them, being an avid gardener with seafood as a first love.
Now, as for origin (based on the above posts), logic tells me it could be any seed of any species of plant that found it's way into the ocean waters and was prompted by it's environment to grow... right?
"The plants shown here were sprouted from some "soft" seeds found at Cocoa Beach, Florida. On the bench from left to right are a palm of undetermined species, a Hog Plum and Tropical Almond in the same large pot, a Red Mangrove, and a Crepe Myrtle."
Now, upon further research, to elaborate on what chrose and Chefkell have posted, here is more information I found to be of great interest and geared toward the horticultural aspects of "seabeans":
Marsh Samphire = Salicornia europaea
Eaten boiled with meat or fish (especially), fresh or blanched in salads, pickled by numerous methods, and used as a salt substitute. This is probably the most commonly cultivated variety of what is commonly called "Samphire" for culinary use. Salicornia europaea belongs to the same plant family as beets, spinach, and Swiss chard.
Rock Samphire = Crithmum maritimum
Thick hairless stems and fleshy grey green leaves cut into narrow leaflets are both edible. Cook and suck away the fleshy parts. Belongs to the carrot family.
Salicornia would probably be the most recognized, proper botanical name for the plant in question, while Marsh Samphire or Samphire would be the most proper, common English names.
(Salicornia: from the Greek words sal, "salt," and cornus, "a horn," because these are saline plants with hornlike branches (ref. genus Salicornia))
Other common names for "Seabeans" include the following: beach asparagus
poor man's asparagus
sea green bean
"In Phoenix, the succulent sprout salicornia sells for $10 a pound at Whole Foods. In St. Louis, connoisseurs pay $1 an ounce for the bright green sprigs, which come sealed in tiny plastic trays. And at the trendy Las Vegas restaurant Tre, Chef Edward Farrow purees the stuff and serves it over sea scallops as a $9 special." From Trendy Sprout Thrives On Water From the Sea The Wall Street Journal (pdf). An excellent article which elaborates on its cultivation, nutritional apsects, and applications as a "new" crop.
Salicornia is the world's first commercial food product to be grown entirely on soil irrigated by seawater.
"Choose crisp, brightly colored sprigs with no sign of softness. Refrigerate tightly wrapped for up to 2 weeks Ñ though the sooner salicornia is used the better the flavor. It's best used fresh, either in salads or as a garnish. When cooked, salicornia tends to taste quite salty and fishy." Epicurious.com
"Pick the very young shoots by pinching them just above the root. Chew them there and then - they're tangy, refreshing and delicious - or take them home and add to salads; boil them in a little water for 6 to 8 minutes, add extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon and serve as an antipasto or add to an equal amount of spaghetti; even do as the Mallorcans do and add them to bruschetta (or pa amb oli as it's known there). Later in the season the stems are tougher and best boiled and eaten a bit like a globe artichoke, dipped into melted butter and drawn between the teeth to pull the flesh off the tougher spine. If you want to preserve samphire through the winter you can pickle it: blanch it or leave it raw depending on how tough it is, then simply cover it with pickling vinegar." Food for Free
Salicornia is also known as:
"zeekraal" - Netherlands
"agretti" - Italy
"Queller" - Germany
"perce-pierre" - France
"samphire" or "glasswort" - UK
"glass<caron>rter" - Sweden
"haipengzi" - China
"Basic Cooking Instructions
1.Wash the fresh samphire thoroughly with cold water
2.Boil in unsalted water for 5 to 15 minutes untill the green flesh can easily be stripped from the stalk with your fingers (Samphire takes longer to cook as the season progresses).
3.Drain off the water and serve.
4.Samphire is traditionally served with vinegar or melted butter." Salthouse
I believe this is for more mature (not tender stalks)
"Wash the samphire well in fresh water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. It is cooked when the fleshy bits slip easily from the stalk. Serve with melted butter or sprinkle with black pepper and vinegar. You eat it by sucking the leaves off the stalks." BBC Online
For tender stalks:
Wash thoroughly to remove salt. Cover with water, bring to a boil and drain immediately. Add a small amount of fresh water. Steam until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain well.
"Pickled Samphire 1
Samphire, Salt, Vinegar
Gather the young and green samphire beginning of March (in Australia) or end of July (Europe) before it flowers. Break into 2 in. lengths, lay on a dish and sprinkle with dry salt. Leave for 24 hours. Drain, then cook gently until tender in enough vinegar to just cover it, but don't allow it to get soft. :lain vinegar is best for this as the samphire has its own spicy flavor. Seal down securely in hot jars.
Pickled Samphire 2
The varnish smell and taste of the raw plant entirely disappears when rock samphire is pickled and it makes a delicious crisp green relish to eat with all cold meats and to add to salads.
1 colander picked-over rock samphire leavesÊ
1/4 liter / 33/4 cups /11/2 pints white vinegar
11/2 liter / 11/4 cup / 1/2 pint water
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoon pickling spice
1 teaspoon ground mace
Pick off the hard, main stems from the samphire and soak the leaflets in salted water for 1hour. Wash in fresh water and drain through a colander. Put the samphire in a large saucepan with just enough cold water to cover, bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes, drain well. Boil the vinegar, water, salt and spices together for 5 minutes then pour into a bowl and allow to cool. Spoon the samphire into jars to within 1/2 in. / 1 cm of the top, strain the spiced vinegar into a jug and fill up the jars so that the samphire is well covered. Screw on plastic lined lids or, if using metal lids, line with vinegar proof paper or two thicknesses of greaseproof paper. Store for 4 months before using, to allow the pickle to mellow." Riverhouse Herb Farm
Very Nice Muddy! No question left unanswered there! Interesting article as well. I have a hard time getting the nice little young ones that don't have the woody stem inside, but when I do...mmmmmmm.
I've also dried them in the oven overnight (like a tomato only no oil) and dusted them in a cofee grinder and used it like a seasoning. Very fun and **** tasty. No one can peg the flavor, but everyone likes it.