We Love – Scurvy Grass

Well, maybe love is a bit of an exaggeration but this plant is plentiful at the moment and can add a kick to salads and pesto.

This common coastal plant got its name from the fact that sailors used to salt it down to access the masses of Vitamin C contained in it’s leaves, to ward of scurvy on long sea voyages. And despite it’s name, it is not a grass at all, but part of the cabbage family.

It is a bit of an acquired taste, as it is quite powerful, but used sparingly it can add a peppery taste to food.

Cochlearia officinalis has small glossy, heart shaped leaves with distinct veins on individual stalks and grows close to the ground in low rosettes. Both the leaves and flowers are edible, though the older, dark green fleshy leaves can be way too powerful.

When used as sparingly in a salad scurvy grass gives a full-blooded mustardy punch! Think horesradish and you have an idea of the taste sensation. It can be chopped and used in place of wasabi in sushi, added to pesto or dried to season soups and stews.

So, while we wouldn’t recommend filling the freezer or salting barrels full of the stuff, scurvy grass is worth a wee try.

If you are going to forage, please follow the simple guidelines:

  • Always be sure you are sure of the plant before you pick it and never eat any plant you are unsure of.
  • Leave plenty behind for wildlife.
  • Make sure you have permission to pick
  • Only pick where plants are plentiful

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