Master the Art of Cooking with Ice Plant: 10 Tips and Tricks for Home Chefs

Ice plant, also known as Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, is a succulent plant with edible leaves that have a slightly salty and refreshing taste. It is closer to the sour end of the flavor spectrum (not sweet). Think of ice plant as a way to elevate your dishes and seafood with a salty crunch of ocean-y air. It's really wonderful with sushi or sashimi.

We carry this eye-catching ingredient for professional chefs to use in their dishes, and think home chefs should know about it too. When you're not sure how to cook with something, it can be a little intimidating at first. Ice plant might feel like one of those ingredients for you. We want to encourage you to try new things! Here are some tips and tricks from Four Star's master chefs on how you can incorporate this delicate, beautiful ingredient into your meals and cook it at home:

  1. Wash the ice plant leaves thoroughly and pat them dry.

  2. Blanch the leaves in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain the leaves and pat them dry.

  3. You can use ice plant leaves raw in salads or sandwiches for a crunchy texture and tangy flavor. If you've never had ice plant before, we suggest a salad as your first entry level try into the wonderful world of ice plant! 

  4. To cook ice plant leaves, sauté them in a little bit of oil or butter until they are wilted and tender, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and any other desired herbs or spices.

  5. Ice plant leaves can also be used in stir-fries or soups. Add them to the dish towards the end of the cooking process to preserve their texture and flavor.

  6. Ice plant leaves can also be pickled. Combine equal parts vinegar and water, and add some salt, sugar, and spices to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil, then pour it over the ice plant leaves in a jar. Allow the pickled leaves to sit in the fridge for at least a day before eating.

Remember that ice plant leaves have a high water content and will shrink significantly when cooked, so you may need to use more than you think. With these tips, you can experiment with cooking with ice plant and discover new ways to enjoy its unique taste and texture.

We carry ice plant when it's available. Shopping seasonally and locally means that a majority of our growers are located here in CA and neighboring states, like Nevada for example. When we have it fresh it, you can find it listed here on our site. If you don't see it listed, that means it's either not peak season or not an item that we could procure from our vendor network. We hope you enjoy venturing into cooking with ice plant and feel inspired and just a little bit more empowered to try new things!

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