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Miracle Plant?
August 6, 2008 10:45 AM   Subscribe

In 1991, the New York Times reported on the development of a new salt-water crop called salicornia that produced seeds rich in high-quality protein and oil. While it was acknowledged as having great potential for becoming a valuable crop in subtropical areas, the LA Times talks about a farmer who thinks the crop could help solve world hunger, provide abundant clean fuel for vehicles and slow global warming. This particular farmer has been touting salicornia for quite some time now, and he seems to have been successful in small-scale operations he's been allowed to lead.
posted by SportsFan (22 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I ate some fresh (that is, right out of the bog) species of salicornia on a trip some years ago to Virginia. It was pretty good, as I recall.
posted by lumensimus at 10:51 AM on August 6, 2008


Yeah it's tasty.
posted by Flashman at 11:13 AM on August 6, 2008


Needs a better name. I'm thinking no one wants to eat "glass wort."
posted by mds35 at 11:16 AM on August 6, 2008


I read that the tips are a big part of haute cuisine in Europe, except they're called "samphire" by restaurants.
posted by SportsFan at 11:25 AM on August 6, 2008


The crop seems to have good qualities, but I think this is more a story of a man with ambitions that continue to get the better of him.

This quote sums it up: Still, his talk of stopping sea-level rise and reinventing agriculture is so audacious that some of his own backers have cautioned him to tone it down.

Audacious, as in: His company is in negotiations that he hopes will end up boosting the Mideast peace process by building saltwater farms in the Sinai Desert.

It is easy to embrace large-scale ideas that seem to be a quick fix. I mean, what could possibly go wrong when you use natural aquifers as giant storage tanks for seawater?

The difficulty (ease?) of climate change is that conservation has to happen on the most basic level. The individual. I just hope we can work on that before desperately flooding the land with seawater. Or dumping lime in the oceans. Or pumping CO2 into the earth.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 11:27 AM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


> Needs a better name.

Soylent Green is NOT people.
posted by jfuller at 11:40 AM on August 6, 2008


Tastes like chicken?
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:56 AM on August 6, 2008


i've had these. i think they were called 'sea beans' or 'sea greens'. quite tasty, with a refreshing salt water tang.
posted by gnutron at 12:17 PM on August 6, 2008


Oh! Sea beans! I just tried these for the first time a few weeks ago! They were tasty by themselves, but they were also a great addition to stir-fry.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:03 PM on August 6, 2008


SALICORNIA! UBER ALLES!
SALICORNIA UUUUUUUBER ALLES!
posted by everichon at 1:11 PM on August 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


If they are indeed sea beans then I've had them and they are fantastic.
posted by spicynuts at 2:09 PM on August 6, 2008


Salicornia?

Great, now we know what the next Red Hot Chili Peppers album is gonna be called.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:41 PM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Needs a better name.

Rape Seed became "Canola". Maybe... "Saltola"?
posted by GuyZero at 2:44 PM on August 6, 2008


Salicorniagetcha?
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:58 PM on August 6, 2008


farmer who thinks the crop could help solve world hunger, provide abundant clean fuel for vehicles and slow global warming

Right after this sentence I expected something about pressure from big oil and their lobbying firms driving this miraculous green venture underground by destroying all existing crops, brutally murdering the man's family in front of him and prompting legislation to prevent anybody else from growing said plants.

Fortunately, the little faith in humanity I have wasn't tarnished any further =)
posted by shoebox at 3:58 PM on August 6, 2008


Is there an echo in here?
posted by 5MeoCMP at 4:10 PM on August 6, 2008


I read that the tips are a big part of haute cuisine in Europe, except they're called "samphire" by restaurants.

I thought Samphire was the artist who sold more records than Elvis and the Beatles.
posted by Tube at 5:35 PM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I thought Samphire was the artist who sold more records than Elvis and the Beatles.

K-Tel could come out with a whole line of new "designer" greens: Samphire, Beancar Willy, Slim Weedman.....
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:48 PM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's marsh samphire, or salicorn, or salicornia europeae. It is delicious, especially fresh. Usually in the UK it is served pickled with shellfish.
posted by roofus at 2:43 AM on August 7, 2008


I think 'clean fuel' is an evil and misleading misnomer - it still produces CO2 and particulates, so how is this considered 'clean'?
posted by strawberryviagra at 7:03 AM on August 7, 2008


Is it kelp-like in taste?
posted by metaboy at 12:00 PM on August 7, 2008


Is it kelp-like in taste?

Not really -- it's just a mild, refreshing, planty taste (kind of like snow peas), but with an attendant burst of strong sea flavoring (kind of like a tidepool). If you like the salty smell of ocean air, you'll probably love it.

Rape Seed became "Canola".

Well in that case, it looks like we can take advantage of that recently-vacated niche! Henceforth, Salicornia shall be known as NAMBLA Greens!
posted by Greg Nog at 1:03 PM on August 7, 2008


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