One of the most common questions we answer is, ‘How do I eat more seaweed?’ More people are understand the nutritional & wellness virtues of seaweeds, but seek to understand how to use it more regularly without changing their daily habits.
Seaweed can be eaten fresh from the sea, just the same way we collect vegetables from our garden. Just like land vegetables, seaweeds come in great variety and many are seasonal. For that reason, seaweeds have been dried and stored for centuries so they could be used throughout the year. Dried seaweeds retain their high nutritional value when they are naturally dried. They re-hydrate to their original texture (just like when they are exposed at low tide), and keep for a very long time, if stored away from light in a dry container.
Seaweeds are versatile and can be enjoyed in many different ways. Here’s how to start:
1. Use seaweed seasonings:
Seaweeds have a number of important characteristics which make them an excellent condiment:
- seaweed tastes salty, but has less sodium and a better balance of minerals than salt
- seaweeds contain umami, a naturally occurring amino-acid also called ‘the 5th taste’, which flavours , intensifies & balances all the tastes in a dish
- seaweed can tenderise and add texture to a meal.
Use a salt alternative like kelp sea salt, or seaweed salt instead of table salt. You can simply replace salt with kelp as kelp is naturally salty but much richer in nutrients than table salt. Try a Kelp Seasoning or Seaweed & Sesame Seasoning (a mixture of 3 different seaweeds providing a wide range of nutrients). This will add flavour to your meal and is an easy way to get started with low fuss.
2. Use seaweed in stocks:
Whether you make your own stock / bone broth or buy one already made, add a piece of Kombu to your stock for 10 minutes or more to add nutrition and a umami, delicate flavour. When using the Kombu strip in your stock, it is best not to boil it as the taste is more delicate that way, just let it steep 10 minutes or more if possible. Many nutrients are released in the stock, mainly minerals & trace elements, some vitamins, amino & fatty acids. You will notice the presence of the essential element iodine by the colour of the stock which will turn golden brown. It is very healthy to eat the trips of kombu; the fiber in it is detoxifying and a great prebiotic for your gut.
3. Use powders (kelp, spirulina) in smoothies, breakfast cereals or baking for a nutrient boost.
A little goes a long way – as little as 1/4 – 1 teaspoon (depending on the seaweed) daily, can make a significant difference to your well-being. Simply add the powders to your favourite smoothie recipe, to fresh juices or as a topping for your morning cereal. Their taste is mostly mild but train your palate slowly, starting with small quantities, increasing over time. Be sure to check the iodine levels on the reverse of the packet, each seaweed contains some – but kelp as an example, has a huge amount and should be consumed in small quantities.
4. Use seaweed leaves as wraps
Most seaweeds are versatile and having the full leaf gives you all the flexibility to use them in many different ways. Delicious with fish, but suitable to a number of other dishes, wrapping seaweed leaves (Kombu, Sea lettuce, Dulse Leaves or Wakame) around food for steaming or baking preserves moisture, imparts nutrients and a balances flavours. Seaweed will become crunchy and delicious when baked in the oven.
5. Add flakes to everything – your favourite dips or as a garnish on pasta or potatoes
Sprinkle seaweed flakes on everything, garnish a soup, a butter, a dip, vegetables, baking, omelette and more! This is a great way to boost your nutrient intake and adds lovely flavour and colour to your food.
Visit our recipe page for inspiration and share your experiments with us! We keep learning and would love to see what you create.
Read WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW about seaweed for food.
Disclaimer: This material is provided for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This information is generic and should be verified by a qualified health practitioner for specific and individual needs & requirements.