Seablite (also called Southern Seablite) is a type of Amaranth, native to all states of Australia except the Northern Territory. The leaves can be used as a vegetable and pickled. It thrives in saltmarshes and other saline conditions around the country.
This plant can be found growing wild around much of South Australia’s coastline and estuarine salt marshes. The leaves will impart a pleasant, salty flavour to a dish and in small quantities make a nice addition to a salad. Seablite can be cooked with other vegetables to enhance flavour and add a natural saltiness.
They go well in salads or as garnishes for other savoury meals. As a cooked vegetable, they bear resemblance to young bean shoots in texture. Seablite is also a delightful bush food for pickling.
◎ Common Name: Seablite
◎ Scientific or Latin Name: Suaeda australis
◎ Comparison: Crisp, juicy and salty
◎ Seasonality: All year fresh
◎ Region: Arid
◎ Taste Profile: Eaten fresh, the edible leaves are pleasantly salty with a light, crunchy texture.
◎ Types: Suaeda is a genus of plants also known as seepweeds and sea-blites. Most species are confined to saline or alkaline soil habitats, such as coastal salt-flats and tidal wetlands.vThere are about 110 species in the genus Suaeda.
- Seablite enhances the flavour of other dishes with its saltiness, and can be used a replacement for salt in flavouring.
- They can be pickled for year-round use.
- Seablite makes an excellent garnish on salads and savoury meals.
Aboriginal & Traditional
Despite the unappetising name, Seablite leaves are pleasantly salty with a light, crunchy texture — early settlers used it as a vegetable and pickle.
Western & Modern
Seablite can be eaten raw, blanched or fried. Because of its high salt content, this herb can also be used as seasoning in a salad or for the preparation of other vegetables. It is often combined with samphire. The younger shoots can be marinated in vinegar and then made into a delicious relish.
Leaves and stems refreshing to quite salty, depending on where collected and when, but can be eaten raw or cooked, sometimes requires a change of boiling water. It is absolutely excellent boiled. Boiled first-year tips are delicious and if known better would lead to the plant’s extinction. It can be used as a flavouring for other foods, and the seeds can be ground into mush or used to make bread.
The ashes of the plant provide a soda that is used in making glass and soap.
There are no known medicinal uses for this plant.
Note: The term 'Bush Tucker' and 'Bush Food' are not Warndu's preferred terms for Australian Native Ingredients or Australian Botanicals.
Images: © Luisa Brimble