My Messinia

Rock sapphire (Crithmum) in Sarakiniko, Mylos island

DSC_0525otvToday I am writing about one of my beloved plants because I finally have photos which can back up my presentation. Just a few days ago I have travelled to the island of Mylos and gave a concert at its Ancient Theatre. At the day of my arrival at Sarakiniko, among the most astounding coastal rock formations in the world I have found “kritamo’  bushes nesting here and there….DSC_0403otvDSC_0488otvDSC_0368otvCrithmum known as sapphire, rock samphire or sea fennel and in Greece as  kritamo, karma, kritano, kritama, kirtama, krithamo, tritamo, armira is an edible plant that grows and thrives in soils with very high salinity as are found all over Greece at the seaside, rocky or steep sandy places. It also grows at southern and western coasts of Britain and Ireland, and on other mediterranean and western coasts of Europe including the Canary Islands, North Africa and the Black Sea.DSC_0331otvDSC_0333otvDSC_0338otvIt is very durable and is watered by the sea water. During the sunset you will notice the moisture that comes out of the sea and rains onto the rocks and sand. This plant needs no other watering but the sea mist.DSC_0503otvDSC_0442otvDSC_0533otvDSC_0440otvCrithmum is known from the ancient times. Famous Greeks such as Dioscorides, founder of pharmacology, and the Roman writer and botanist Pliny mentioned the plant and praised its properties. Since the days of Hippocrates it has been considered to be one of the most important natural remedies. Used also as a diuretic and for detoxification, it is beneficial for the liver.DSC_0404otvDSC_0539otvThe seeds of this plant are very similar to barley, which is why the ancient Greeks called “krithmon” (Crithmum). So from the time of Hippocrates till the present day, it is considered to be one of the most important medicines nature offers us DSC_0343otvDSC_0350otvDSC_0358otvCulinary use 

A wonderful aroma is emitted when it is cut. I find its smell rather reminiscent of oregano, but the taste is more bitter and brackish. It has many nutrients found in fish and shellfish and provides an alternative for those who no longer wish to eat fish. Drain it well and rub it down to make an awesome salt.
Critharum powder
Ingredients: Fresh Crithmum.
Preparation: The Crithmum should be dried in the sun until it become completely dry. Mill the dried Crithmum in blender. Place the powder in a jar. The powder remains salty.

Marinated  Crithmum 

3 cups kritamo
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons salt
1 cup water
vinegar and 
olive oill-3 tablespoons

Put plenty of water into the pot to boil. Pour the Crithmum, wait 10 to 15 seconds and then drain. Place immediately in cold water so it preserves its fresh green color. 
Put in a vase. Add one clove of garlic. Mix 3 tablespoons of salt to one cup of water and pour it into the jar with Crithmum. Fill with vinegar and water with the same amounts and close the jar and olive oil.
Store the jar in a dark place. After 2 weeks it is ready.
Check out my recipe for Spaghetti with tuna, capers and kritamo here 
(Precautions: The essential oil of the herb should not be used by pregnant women).DSC_0497otv

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