Wild food foraging often summons thoughts of salmon berries, blue berries, and raspberries, but there’s more out there to forage. Nutrient-dense beach greens are a great early season option for adding some local variety to your diet.
Beach greens are one of the first things to sprout in the spring. Coastlines that were barren as you walked against a strong headwind in early spring become decorated with the bright, yellow-green stems. The plant is a set of creeping stolons, horizontal plant runners that take root at various points. This makes it well suited to the upper tide line that can shift and move over time.
Also known as sea sandwort, sea chickweed, or sea pimpernel, these plants are found all along the Alaskan coastline and other temperate and boreal locations. They have long been a valued food source with their high concentrations of vitamin A and C.
Early spring is the best time to harvest. These succulent greens have a sweetness that dissipates as the white flowers begin to appear at the end of their extending runners. If you’ve tried them and found a particularly nasty aftertaste, you’ve probably tried older plants. There are multiple growths of this plant throughout the growing season, so pay attention to the newer growth to avoid the off-taste.