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Sea Beet

All Areas > Food & Drink > Wild Food Foraging

Author: Steven Hawley, Posted: Tuesday, 24th January 2017, 08:00

Sea Beet Sea Beet

If you were ever to look at my family tree, I would be somewhere near to the top, hanging from a dysfunctional branch like a perfectly ripened fruit just waiting for someone to bite into and savour my refined decadent qualities. Miles below my lofty position, just beneath the decaying husks of my siblings, down in the dirt near the roots, would be the first of my ancestors. Rugged, pioneering mainstays whose function I can only surmise was to eventually give me an existence. I’m aware this family tree doesn’t follow the usual template, artistic licence.

The rugged, pioneering mainstay of early cuisine

Beta vulgaris (Beet plant) can be viewed in much the same way. The sugar beet, for instance, has been carefully cultivated to provide everyone with a little sweetness in their lives, but if you look at its origins you’ll find the Sea Beet. The rugged, pioneering mainstay of early cuisine.

Even though the sugar beet would probably be everyone’s preferred choice when it comes to applied kitchen science, it would be a shame not to remember where it came from. Since we’re already on the beach from last month’s Limpet forage, it would be worthwhile to take a little stroll and see if we can spot any of this ancestral throwback.

Use in the same manner as Swiss Chard

Found growing on pebble beaches, sea defences or general rocky coastline, Sea Beet leaves can be used in the same manner as store bought Swiss Chard.

When tasted, it should serve as a reminder that trying to improve something that is already pretty perfect could produce more problems than it solves. In the case of the sea beet, so called improvements have caused wide spread obesity, diabetes and cancer. I got lucky and avoided turning into an oozing polyp on the bronchial sac of humanity during my refining process. I ended up with only the best qualities – just ask my wife!

If you’re not 100% sure that what you’re picking is safe for human consumption, don’t pick it. If you’re prone to food allergies, or pregnant, always seek medical advice before consuming anything foraged in the wild.

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