Learn all about Sea Lettuce in this short blog which explains what it is, why you should eat Sea Lettuce, what to expect and how to get started.
What is Sea Lettuce?
Sea Lettuce is a common green seaweed found around the world and grows well in many different climates. It grows naturally in a variety of shapes (ribbons, tuffs or sheets) and can be flat or ruffled, thick and waxy or tissue like and translucent. The colour can vary from pale yellow to dark green. All these different species of Sea Lettuce are grouped under the family name ‘Ulva’, a latin name for ‘marsh plant’. Physiologically, Sea Lettuce is the closest seaweed to a land plant.
Sea Lettuce grows in calm waters, quiet bays, salt marshes as well as rocky areas near the shore. It is commonly found on intertidal rocks, in tide pools, on reef flats, growing on shells, other seaweed or free floating. It often favours areas of fresh water runoff that are rich in nutrients (particularly nitrogen), where it grows prolifically and can become invasive & smelly as it decomposes.
Sea Lettuce is sometimes called ‘green laver’ or ‘green nori’ because of its similarity to Nori, but has a distinctive aroma and taste. It has been consumed as a food all over the world for a long time.
Pacific Harvest offers Sea Lettuce in a flake format only at present due to some of the challenges of grading it. As it dries sand can become trapped in the delicate fronds making it hard to supply a food grade product which is sand free! Try the small jar of Sea Lettuce to start and top up with the refill box when you need to. (Remember all Pacific Harvest packaging is fully recyclable).
Why Eat Sea Lettuce?
Sea Lettuce offers a source of iron so is an excellent meal supplement if one is suffering from anemia or low iron levels. It’s also a great source of iodine which is essential for thyroid health. Depending on where and when it was harvested and how it’s been dried, Sea Lettuce can also be a source of Vitamin B12, which is excellent for those on a plant based diet, as it can be challenging to find a B12 from non-animal protein sources. Some samples also show significant levels of calcium, manganese and magnesium. Vitamin C content is highest when sea lettuce has been harvested in the early summer months. It is a great source of plant protein
Sea Lettuce is said to reduce inflammation, tone the skin, promote collagen & elastin formation and repair. Hydrating & nourishing, it is said to increase skin vitality & brightness.
What is the Taste of Sea Lettuce?
The taste of sea lettuce is unexpectedly vibrant, when compared to that of land lettuce. Some describe a soft peppery, sorrel like flavour. Some of the Pacific Harvest seasoning range also contain Sea Lettuce – such as the Power of Three seaweed flake blend and our range of furikake inspired seaweed seasonings. (Eating a range of seaweed colours provides an excellent array of different nutrients, trace elements and minerals as each colour group is unique.)
About Sea lettuce – different options for culinary delight!
Sea Lettuce makes a bright, colourful addition to salads and is quite delicious in omelets (a more nutrient dense swop for parsley!).