Nori Seaweed fronds may also be known as Karengo in NZ. Of all the edible seaweeds it is perhaps the most well known, being of sushi fame! Nori is a red seaweed and can go by different names – in Wales it is called laver, in South America, luche. We call it Nori here because it is the most commonly used name for this species of seaweed around the world.
Nori seaweed has a texture similar to cellophane and is naturally a dark purple/browny colour. It has a light mushroom like flavour which can change to more of a nutty flavour when roasted, or anchovy flavour when moist. This is one of the reasons nori is so popular – the flavour profile can change and it can be used in so many ways – scroll down for Nori recipe suggestions.
Ingredients: Nori seaweed (Porphyra umbilicalis) 100%.
Why Eat Nori seaweed fronds – health benefits
Of all the popular edible seaweeds, Nori offers the most plant protein (up to 35%). Its densly nutritions – offering excellent micronutrients such as iodine, and a good source of Vitamin B12 which is hard to find in a plant based protein, and has a good balance of minerals, trace elements and fatty 3 acids. – vegans and vegetarians take note! Iodine is an essential nutrient for the production of a hormone called thyroxin which helps to regulate many body functions.
Red seaweeds have a general tonic effect on the body, strengthening the immune system. Traditionally Nori has been used in Chinese and other traditional medicine approaches to nourish the nervous system and improve resistance to stress. There are even studies showing Nori can relieve symptoms of cold, flu and other viral infections.
We like to refer to this Harvard study, which encourages improving diet in the first instance, before adding made-made nutritional supplements. Most nutrients are more potent when they come from our food and have not been processed in a lab. Plus, food tastes better, and is often cheaper than nutritional supplements, not to mention less of a hassle as you can simply add it to what you are already eating or preparing to eat.
Many add nori to their food instead of salt if they follow a low sodium diet as it offers a mild salty flavour, but with added nutrients and mineral content in the seaweed than a regular table salt may offer.
How to Use Nori Seaweed Fronds
Rather than buying processed sushi nori sheets*, did you know you can eat raw Nori straight from the bag? It’s quite a delicious, mildly salty snack, and we’d argue there is not a healthier snack around than raw seaweed as nature intended. There is no need to rehydrate Nori seaweed. If you like, you can make your own seaweed sheets at home (heres a recipe for you to try)
If you roast Nori, it will turn a greeny colour and take on a more nutty flavour. Nori (or Karengo) has a delicate flavour and will burn under intense heat. Flavour can vary from ‘tea-like’ or ‘mushroomy’, to nutty (when roasted) to mild anchovy (when moist).
Try Nori seaweed with eggs, salads, soup, pizza, pasta, stir-fries, seafood, vegetables, seafood, rice or with nuts and seeds.
Use Nori seaweed in savoury baking, Mediterranean dishes or soups. Nori also pairs wonderfully with chocolate and ginger. See links to recipe ideas below.
*Nori sheets have recently become a popular healthy seaweed snack in supermarket aisles and for good reason – they offer a “healthier for you”, delicious plant based snack. However, do check the fat and nutrient content and compare it to the raw version!
Where is New Zealand Karengo and when can we source it locally again?
For many years we wild harvested karengo here in NZ but due to the Kaikōura earthquake in 2016, the area where commercial harvest is allowed, was closed to allow the seabed to recover. There is unfortunately no cultivation of karengo in New Zealand although you may be able to find it all around our coastlines if you are a seaweed forager. Until we have farmers cultivating farmed nori here in New Zealand, we will continue to offer an imported farmed species. Note we also offer a wild harvested option which is the same species we would normally access in NZ as a wild harvested option.
Until we are able to safely harvest NZ karengo at a commerical, food grade level, we are working with ethical harvesters of exactly the same species overseas to ensure continued supply!
What is the difference between farmed and wild nori seaweed?
- Farmed seaweed has been especially cultivated, or farmed by humans. The flavour can be a little milder, but nutrient density, colour and all aspects are more consistent as they are grown in a controlled environment. We are able to access supply year round.
- Wild harvested seaweeds are sustainably harvested from the ocean and have had no human interferance in their growth. The flavour can be stronger, but is less consistent as the seaweeds grow in varied conditions. They are often seasonal so not available all year around. Although we grade wild seaweeds by hand, there can be some ocean detritus (sand, a shell etc) remaining so we suggest a further check prior to consumption.
How we harvest, test our pack our Nori seaweed fronds
Our Nori is the same species that grows around New Zealand’s shores. We work with a womens co-operative in South America to source sustainably wild harvested nori which is air dried close to source to preserve nutrient density.
Pacific Harvest specialises in seaweed, and has been trusted by the nutritional community since 2002. We test all our imported nori for contaminants in external labs, before packing them by hand in our food grade facility in Auckland.
We recently removed the zip lock from our bags to reduce the amount of overall plastic in the bag. Please use the resealable sticker we provide to keep moisture out.
Recycling Nori fronds packaging
We recently added cardboard boxes to our range to ensure the stores who stock these products can stand them on shelf as the pouches we previously used fell over constantly! Please pop the used cardboard boxes into your worm farm, or in kerb side cardboard recycling.
The plastic pouch can be recycled through soft plastic recycling schemes. Ideally we’d not use plastic but as seaweeds are hygroscopic (attract moisture) we need to ensure we can keep the seaweeds food safe. Compostable options don’t currently provide adequate moisture barriers. Please read more on our packaging journey here.
A word of warning on iodine
Nori offers an excellent source of naturally occurring iodine. Please pay attention to the serving size suggestions on pack and consult a health care professional if you have concerns about your health or further questions about iodine.
Recipe Ideas – Working with Nori Fronds
Pasta, Pizza, Sauces
Need more information?
Read the product reviews below.
Read our policies here: Shipping, Returns, your privacy, or contact us.