Apparently, this plant thinks to itself “The saltier the water, the better!” The glasswort, also known as pickleweed, needs salt in order to even survive and to thrive.

If not near the ocean, where else would a salt-loving plant feel at home? As a matter of fact, the extraordinary plant can be found on beaches and salt marshes all over the world. Their small size and green stems do not immediately make them pop out on a landscape, especially not as potential food. However there are many ways to prepare glasswort. It can be eaten either raw or cooked, and even dried as a herb and made into juices as well as jam.

Poor man’s asparagus

Early in the past, it was also known as “poor man’s asparagus” in coastal areas in Northern Europe due to the similar shape and the relatively easy access. After harsh winters it lacked vegetables. Glasswort was used as a functional foodsource in spring. Interest has been increasing in the last few years. Glasswort was even originally classified as a weed. It has become apparent that glasswort has incredible benefits when consumed, such as the intake of iron, calcium, fatty acids, and vitamins. For some people, it has even become a table salt substitute.

The history behind the name

Glasswort stems are neither see-through nor do they have any other characteristic in common with glass. How did the strange plant obtain such a name?
Curiously, it has something to do with glasswort’s history. During the Middle Ages, glasswort was used to actually produce glass. It is high in sodium. After drying and burning the plants, the remaining salty ashes were then heated with sand. The result of the fusion process was glass.

Future use and sustainability

Glasswort is a plant with a lot of potential for today and the future. As we are in need of creative water management ideas and solutions for saving pure water, salt-tolerant plants are inspected more thoroughly. However, there is still a lot of research necessary.

For now, glasswort is definitely a plant worth a try and far from ordinary.

GGN: 4049928781970: J.O.R Farm LTD - Jana Vyskocilov ; Moshav Kmehin, Israel

Photo: Shutterstock