Written by Bhaavyaa.

May and June are the best months to gather most seaweeds. Before cooking seaweed, be sure to wash it thoroughly in plenty of water to remove sand, shells and other debris. Seaweeds are rich in iodine, a mineral not widely found in other foods. This iodine content has made seaweed important in many parts of the world to treat goitre, an enlargement of the thyroid gland. Seaweeds also contain other useful minerals, especially potassium and calcium.

Laver is an easily recognised seaweed, common on rocks and stones all round the British coast. It is a translucent, thin, wavy-edged frond attached to the rock by a small disc-shaped hold fast. Laver should be well washed and simmered until it becomes a purée resembling well-cooked spinach. In South Wales this purée, known as laverbread, is coated in oatmeal, then fried and served with bacon and eggs.

Marsh samphire (glasswort) is abundant on muddy salt marshes. The plump, shiny stems grow like tall, bushy desert cacti. In June or July the young shoots make a crisp salad; in late summer the older plants are served like asparagus. Eat boiled by using the teeth to strip the fleshy part of the plant from its tough central spine. 

Sea beet (sea spinach), which grows just like cultivated spinach, can be picked from June to October from coastal paths and sea walls. Sea beet is an excellent source of beta carotene, and also supplies iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. It is used in the same way as garden spinach.

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