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Why Eat Seaweed?

eating seaweed
Kelp Forest, photograph by NOAA

Seaweeds were the first plants on earth, they have been in existence for the last three and a half billion years. They are the very foundation of the food chain and have played an important role from the very beginning of life on earth.  Archaeological findings indicate seaweed was an important food source for coastal communities across the world, including South America, Scandinavia,  Europe, Asia, North America and through the Pacific Islands.

Since World War One, when we discovered how to extract elements (which led to the birth of pharmaceutical products & allopathic medicine), it seems the knowledge and traditions of seaweed’s extraordinary nutritional and medicinal value has been lost, and seaweed consumption as a food has reduced in the Western world. Asian cultures have largely kept their traditional medicines and nutritional principles alongside the more modern approaches, and have continued to consume seaweed regularly for it’s health and flavour benefits.

Re-discovering Seaweed

With the rise in ‘food fusion’ (mixing of different culinary styles), interest in seaweeds in growing in the western world.  People are re-learning about the extraordinary health benefits they offer, and experimenting with new flavours beyond sushi and miso soup.  Seaweeds open a world of new flavours, textures and colours and are able to be used in a range of applications.  Additionally, with the increase in persistent medical conditions associated with poor lifestyle, there has been an increased focus on ‘clean eating’ – inspiring us to return to simple, unprocessed food which is nutritionally rich.

Like different vegetables, various seaweeds appeal to our senses in different ways – each has unique culinary properties – some tenderise meat and beans (kelp sesoning), others are noodle shaped (Sea Spaghetti) or can be used as a gelatine substitute (Agar) or even simply as as replacement for salt . Each seaweed can be used in a number of surprising ways in the kitchen.

Seaweeds are a ‘nutrition powerhouse’ and contain unique disease fighting compounds. They are classified into 3 groups according to their pigmentation and each group offers unique nutritional value. Here are our top tips for getting the most out of seaweed in your kitchen.

Note: Please pay attention to the nutritional information on the reverse of each packet. Only small amounts are required. We recommend small amounts often, rather than large amounts less frequently.  Check our recipe section for inspiration.

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