HISTORY & LORE –>
Thought to be the oldest plant on Earth, Seaweed is not actually a plant but a type of complex algae as it doesn’t have roots, stems or leaves.
Fresh water Seaweeds tend to be toxic. Edible Seaweeds come from the ocean with the main types grouped as red, green, or brown.
Seaweed is full of minerals and vitamins including A, B, C and E, and is also high in fiber. It can be eaten by people and animals as well as being used as fertilizer for both garden and house plants.
(a caution: If you have any health issues related to the thyroid be careful not to eat too much seaweed because of a high iodine content. Be careful too about its source. Seaweed absorbs pollutants, heavy metals and radiation. The cleanest is from the North Atlantic, but store brands that are certified organic are also trustworthy.)
I’ve dabbled with Seaweed for skincare (very soothing for sunburns in a bath) but don’t know much about it. Decided to remedy that and dive in with study this year, hoping to make a plant friend to be with when we finally get out sailing.
Starting to learn about Seaweed has shown me I have alot to learn. For example, I didn’t know Seaweed sequesters carbon.
Read: Medicinal Uses of Seaweeds — Dr. Ryan Drum
Read: Meet the new US entrepreneurs farming seaweed for food and fuel — As the world grows and the climate changes, there’s been fresh interest in seaweed – and a new breed of farmers are exploring how best to harness the humble plant’s benefits, TheGuardian.com.
Watch: The Seaweed Project — This film shows seaweed aquacultures and their potential to provide sustainable marine food in northern Europe and Asia. (45 mins.)
Seaweed usually brings to mind Japanese, Korean, and Chinese dishes, but Iceland, Norway, Ireland, England, and Wales also have a history of eating seaweed. Native Americans use seaweed as food as well as medicine.
What do I know about cooking with Seaweed? Not much. I’ve only ever used it as sushi wrap and as a salt substitute.
But I’m experimenting! I rehydrated some Kelp to taste-taste and was surprised it actually tasted pretty good. Not at all like the ocean at low tide, which is what I expected. More like a green vegetable with a little crunch. A friend told me she enjoys snacking on Kelp dried, though it can stick to the roof of your mouth 🙂
Seaweeds are best used as regular components of a wise diet. Sea vegetables have been consumed regularly by all coastal peoples since the first days. Special harvesting, processing, storage, and eating rituals evolved to meet local needs. The ease of drying sea vegetables in full sunlight, and, their innate long-term stability when kept completely dry permits safe long-term storage and facilitates both personal and commercial transport, And, an almost indefinite shelf-life when stored completely dry and away from light.Read: Sea Vegetables For Food & Medicine — Dr. Ryan Drum
Recipe: Korean style Roasted Seaweed — Maangchi.com
Recipe: Japanese style Potato Salad — Kurakonusa.com
Recipe: Wakame and Cucumber Salad — Kacie Loparto, FoodandWine.com
Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper and Red Lentil Soup — ConnemaraSeaweedCompany.ie. This may be the best*soup*recipe*ever. It uses Kelp and is vegan. And if you don’t have a pre-made veggie stock, it recommends using water with a little Calendula (called Marigold in the recipe). Nice.
“Steeping your body in a bathtub full of medicinal leaves and flowers is more than pampering; it is preventive medicine”Herbalist Kami McBride
Seaweed has a long history of being used in the bath for relief from muscle and joint pains. And bonus, it makes skin really soft.
I made a bath tea that’s 1/3 part Kelp and 2/3 part Lavender. I put the blend in a giant stainless steel tea ball and left it in the tub while I took a long soak, trying to lift my dark mood. It worked! I felt tons better and my skin felt silky-soft. Even cured my hangover 😉