Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Our Sea Vegetable Range
Have questions about specific seaweeds, or our packaging, or delivery? Or perhaps you would like some advice on how to use seaweeds? Scroll through the frequently asked questions below which may help. Please contact us if you don't find what you are looking for.
About Specific Seaweeds?
Since the earthquake in Kaikoura in 2016, the commercial harvesting area for Karengo in New Zealand remains closed. We have sourced Karengo (also known as nori or laver) from ethical harvesters of both wild (from South America) and farmed Karengo (from Korea). All seaweeds we offer in our range have been tested in accordance with the ANZ Food Code, Schedule 19.
At this stage we don’t have visibility on when local karengo will be allowed to be commercially harvested again. Watch this space - we will be very excited and you will probably hear it here first!
Kombu is a kelp which has been cut and dried in a specific way. This blog article will hopefully provide more information for you. We offer kombu strips and leaves and a range of kelp seasoning and powders.
Yes, Irish Moss is the same as Sea Moss and carrageenan and is safe. We don’t process this seaweed – we offer it in its raw form – as small flakes. Most people will make it into a gel before using it. See here for various options on making the gel using heat or preparing it as a raw gel.
Irish Moss can either be dried indoors or outdoors. If Irish Moss is a blonde colour it is likely to have been dried outdoors. The darker colour indicates where the Irish moss has been dried indoors. Availability of sun bleached Irish moss can be impacted by the weather during harvesting season so we will offer what is available at the time of harvest. In both cases, we work with harvesters of Irish moss who are organically certified and operate in accordance with strict European food safety standards. All seaweeds we offer in our range have been tested in accordance with the ANZ Food Code.
Some of our seaweeds can vary in size and shape depending on when in the season they are harvested. For example, early season wakame will be a thin leaf whilst the end of the season sees a much broader, denser leaf. This changing shape of the seaweed is especially relevant for wild harvested products which can vary considerably in colour and shape from one season to the next, or from one harvesting area to another, depending on growing conditions, this does not impact their attributes. Farmed seaweeds are usually offered in a more consistent format throughout the year.
We used to stock sea grapes but no longer do. Apologies for any inconvenience this causes. Our food license only allows us to handle dried seaweeds.
We used to stock bladderwrack but no longer do. Apologies for any inconvenience this causes. We focus on seaweeds which are used every day in the kitchen and bladderwrack is a wonderful seaweed with more medicinal properties. We suggest you look online (on European or North American sites as it only grows in the Northern Hemisphere) for an alternative as it is very niche.
We used to stock Alaria but no longer do as we prefer to focus on locally harvested seaweeds where possible, and alaria is harvested from the North Atlantic. Apologies for any inconvenience this causes. A great local alternative is wild wakame which is from the same family and harvested locally here in the pristine New Zealand waters.
We used to stock umami powder but no longer do as this has of a more niche appeal.
All seaweeds are essentially macroalgae. These sea vegetables are gluten free by default. To be sure we have tested the entire range (including our seasoning range) for gluten in an independent laboratory, and can assure you our whole range is gluten free.
This varies by seaweed but generally seaweeds will have approximately 2-3 years (longer than you may expect) because of the natural preservatives and saltiness of them. Some of the seasoning range has 18 months. Each product is date stamped with the Best before date.
Once opened, please reseal the bag or ensure it is airtight to keep moisture out, preferably away from direct sunlight (especially the green seaweeds like sea lettuce and spirulina which are light sensitive). Seaweeds will absorb moisture from the atmosphere so keep them dry until you are ready to use them.
Once you have re-hydrated the seaweed use within a day or two (store in the fridge). Please pay attention to the suggested serving sizes on the reverse of the packaging – it will expand when wet, it so serves more people that you may envisage at first.
Here are some tips on how to get the most out of seaweed in your kitchen.
Once opened, store in an airtight container, or reseal to keep the moisture out. Dried seaweeds do not need to be kept in the fridge – pantry, is fine – out of direct sunlight (especially the green seaweeds like sea lettuce and spirulina which are light sensitive). Once you have re-hydrated the seaweed use within a day or two (store in the fridge). Please pay attention to the suggested serving sizes on the reverse of the packaging – it will expand when wet, it so serves more people that you may envisage at first.
Hopefully this short summary will provide the answers you are looking for. We offer farmed and wild harvested seaweeds and only work with ethical harvesters who are invested in the health of the ocean. All seaweeds we offer in our range have been tested in accordance with the ANZ Food Code, Schedule 19..
Pacific Harvest proudly offers a range of seaweeds. Seaweeds, like land plants grow in different environments – different latitudes, depths. Some prefer shallow water, others depth, some prefer rocky shorelines.
As a result, we work with harvesters from around the world to stock a range of seaweeds which grow locally and abroad. Some popular seaweeds in Australasia only grow in the northern hemisphere so we import where required. All seaweeds we offer in our range have been tested in accordance with the ANZ Food Code.
Agar is a red seaweed which we sell in a powdered format. The most common use is as a vegan gelatine. Our Agar is sustainably farmed from India and is flavourless and odourless. Check our blog articles the learn more about the health benefits of Agar, or Vegan and raw cooking with Agar, or top tips on working with Agar.
Some seaweeds, particularly the wild harvested ones, may have a white powder on the leaf. This is as a result of an amino acid called glutamine, which naturally rises to the surface of the leaf as the leaf dries. This is the source of umami flavour and is not to be confused with mould. This white powder (which naturally occurs on wild harvested seaweed leaves) is what the Japanese scientist who invented MSG in the 1920s was trying to recreate.
If there is a smell of mould please do not consume the seaweed. Please contact us with pictures of the seaweed, and details of the best before date and batch stamp on the packaging and we’ll liaise with you directly depending on the situation. Please read our T&C’s if you have any other questions.
Many seaweeds (particularly the brown seaweeds like kelp, wakame) do have naturally high levels of iodine. Excessive consumption beyond the recommended daily intake can have harmful effects for some people. Please adhere to serving suggestions on packaging.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you would like extra guidance for your personal situation.
Radiation can certainly impact seaweeds. This is why it is critical to only harvest seaweeds which have grown in uncontaminated waters. Radiation (such as from the Fukushima disaster in 2011) travels fair distances based on currents. The map here provides more information on how different currents can impact harvesting areas. We only work with harvesters who collect from uncontaminated regions.
From time to time we have undertaken radiation testing to confirm levels where the need has arisen. However we have not yet had an issue with contaminated seaweeds.
Our range is focused on raw, dried seaweeds and some which we have blended into seasonings to make them easy to use every day.
Whilst the nori seaweed sheets you can purchase in many supermarkets are made from seaweed, many are deep fried and processed in the same way that crisps are. We sell the raw ingredients that you can integrate into your own raw unprocessed snacks or use as ingredients in your own cooking.
Cooking With/Using Seaweeds
If you are not sure where to start, the seasoning range is a no fuss way to add seaweed to what you are already doing without changing anything. Sprinkle seaweed seasoning (furikake, kelps, flakes) onto your meals as a garnish to add nutrients, flavour and colours.
Here are some tips on how to get the most out of seaweed in your kitchen.
We all understand that it’s ideal to eat a range of vegetable colours, well it’s the same for seaweeds. There are three main colour groups – red, green and brown and we suggest a range of seaweeds should be consumed to enjoy the maximum flavour and nutritional value available from seaweeds.
Each seaweed also offers a different flavour. Sea Lettuce for example has a grassy/sorrel like flavour whereas Nori can taste like anchovy when moist but have a smoky mushroom like flavour when eaten raw. Experiment with a range of sea vegetables and see what works for you! Read more here.
Seaweeds are just sea vegetables. What you may smell on the beach is completely different from what we offer. Ours are food grade seaweeds harvested from clean areas and dried close to source.
There are a surprisingly vast range of aromas, flavours and textures available from seaweeds. If you have tried one and did not find it to your taste, it does not neccessarily mean the others will be the same!
For example, sea lettuce smells very different to Karengo. Dulse and Karengo can take on quite different flavours depending on how you prepare them.
Dulse has a leathery texture and is very salty when eaten raw but can taste like bacon when roasted or fried.
Karengo has a cellophane like texture and tastes similar to anchovy when moist but can taste more ‘mushroomy’ or like tea when roasted or baked.
Seaweeds will expand, some up to 10x, when you rehydrate them. They are also densely nutritious so please pay attention to the serving size suggestions on the reverse of the pack. A little goes a long way.
We suggest you start with the smallest size and then look at refills if needed, or buy the larger packs once you are more confident with them in the kitchen. Use the seaweed you have rehydrated fairly soon and keep the rest of it stored in a cool, dry place like your pantry cupboard, sealed to keep moisture out. You will find seaweeds will last a long time (if stored correctly) due to their natural saltiness and mineral content. If you have bought too much it should not be too much of a problem - there are so many ways to use seaweeds - check our recipe section for inspiration.
Our Quality /Testing for Contaminants
All seaweeds we offer in our range have been tested in accordance with the ANZ Food Code.. We track the results of all seaweed testing over time to monitor trends.
All seaweeds are tested by independent labs both in New Zealand and overseas. Read about our testing policy here.
Generally speaking, seaweeds contain a high variety and density of nutrients which they absorb from the ocean. Some seaweeds (such as sea lettuce) thrive in environments where there are high nitrates. Always ensure you are eating seaweed which has been harvested away from areas where there is run off.
Apologies for the inconvenience this may cause. Where seaweeds are wild harvested this can sometimes happen. Whilst every effort is made to check and clean it prior to packaging by hand, we occasionally miss something.
We recommend an additional check prior to consumption to remove unwanted ocean detritus.
Seaweeds contains naturally occurring iodine. All our products have been tested for iodine and the findings are available on the nutritional panel on the reverse of the packaging. The level varies by seaweed species – the brown seaweeds typically have higher iodine levels but most/all seaweeds offer a source of iodine.
We recommend you pay attention to the suggested serving size when working with seaweeds to ensure you are within appropriate limits. Excessive consumption may exceed recommended daily dietary intakes which could have adverse effects.
Please refer to published daily iodine dietary levels if you are concerned or require additional information.
We are on a packaging journey! We doubt we will ever arrive at a perfect solution. Seaweed needs to be kept dry as it absorbs moisuture from the atmosphere. This creates some challenges for us.
We need to select the best packaging for the job based on a number of factors. These include their moisture barrier properties (to ensure product safety), recyclability, shelf life and quality as well as keeping our pricing reasonable.
Our carefully selected packaging is intended to find the right balance between all of these factors.
As with recyclable packaging, it is important to find compostable packaging that has suitable end of life solutions to avoid ending up in landfill. We will continue to monitor the situation in NZ and Australia and make changes as the technology becomes available.
You can recycle the soft plastic bags through the soft plastic recycling scheme in NZ (www.recyclingkiwi.co.nz) and REDcycle in Australia (www.redcycle.net.au) All of the packaging needs to be completely clean, dry and free of all food residue. This is important as otherwise it cannot be recycled.
The carboard boxes can be put in your worm farm or recycled through road side collections.
The plastic is first sorted, baled, wasted, melted into a raw material and is then used as an alternative to virgin (new) plastic or imported recycled plastic.
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A little seaweed goes a long way. You will be surprised to see how many servings are in each package – we feel they are excellent value for money!
We are a small business buy try to always have special offers loaded on our website, which we rotate monthly.
Unfortunately we are not in a position to offer ongoing discounts on all products so please check to see what’s on special this month! If you have subscribed to our newsletter you will be notified of any upcoming specials by email.
Scroll right to the bottom of the check out screen to enter your discount code.
Retail orders over $80 qualify for free shipping. International shipping costs on orders outside of New Zealand will be calculated based on the volume and weight of what you have ordered and where you live.
We only offer a tracked service because this ensures we are able to track and trace parcels effectively when things occasionally go wrong. You will be send tracking details when your order is processed so you can track this live from the comfort of your home.
Each seaweed is unique in it’s health properties and flavour profile. We suggest ordering smaller bags of the seaweeds you are interested in trying from our online store.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or have not been able to find what you are looking for on the product page.
We supply retail stores, chefs, nutritionists, naturopaths, osteopaths, dog breeders, manufacturers, cosmetic companies, and everyone in between via our online shop!
We ship throughout New Zealand and Australia every day and further afield most weeks. You should be able to see product pricing in your own currency but your invoice will be processed in New Zealand dollars.
We do offer bulk seaweeds but these cannot be purchased via our website. Please email [email protected] to place your order.
Please note the supply of bulk seaweeds is always subject to availability. We cannot guarantee that what you wish to order is available as many seaweeds are seasonal.
Bulk orders cannot be returned (unless there is product fault). They are packed to order so please choose carefully when you order.