What is Sugar Kelp seaweed?
Sugar Kelp is a variety of the kelp family from the Northern Hemisphere. It is deep-water sea vegetable from the Brown Seaweed Group, also called Sweet Kombu or Kombu Royale. It grows on rocks in shallow subtidal zone as a single blade (leaf) with a wavy crinkly surface, giving it the appearance of a frilly tongue. The olive leaves can reach 2-4 meters in length and are thin and pliable.
Like other varieties of kelp, Sugar Kelp is a great source of natural Umami that will deepen the flavour of a dish. In addition, Sugar Kelp contains mannitol, a natural sugar that lends a slight sweetness to the seaweed. Mannitol, is a natural sugar evidently not absorbed by the body so particularly helpful for those with diabetes.
Both Umami & mannitol can be seen as a fine white powder on the dried leaves as they age.
What are the health benefits of Sugar Kelp seaweed?
Because Sugar Kelp is a variety of kelp, it has many of the same nutritional & therapeutic characteristics as kelp.
Kelps are well known for their iodine levels – the highest of all sea vegetables – and as a great source of calcium & magnesium. Sugar kelp is also an excellent source of ‘hard to get’ trace minerals, vitamins (especially Bs) and detoxifying fibre. Kelps contain special compounds that are said to have a positive effect on degenerative diseases: Algins, Fucoidan, Laminarin, lignans and many anti-oxidants.
Sugar Kelp contains Mannitol – a natural sugar molecule with a very low glycemic index. Sugar Kelp is a positive alternative to salt, still salty, with less sodium chloride and more of the other minerals we need. Hailed to be the best source of natural iodine in nature, kelps will nourish the thyroid and optimise metabolism.
How do I cook with Sugar Kelp seaweed?
Here are some Sugar kelp recipe ideas.
Use Sugar kelp similarly to Kombu but the sweeter taste gives it more application in sweet dishes.
Sugar Kelp is a healthy addition to desserts, biscuits, cakes, tarts & cookies in parts, or it can be eaten raw, roasted, smoked, simmered, steamed & stir-fried. Rehydrated, it is delicious cut into salads.
Toast it into crisps or crumble to use as a seasoning or garnish.
Large pieces can be used to wrap vegetables, meat & fish cooked in a steamer or the oven.
It’s a great ingredient to pickle or ferment with sauerkraut.
Sugar Kelp can be used to make a slightly sweeter stock.
Where is Pacific Harvest’s Sugar Kelp sourced from?
Our Sugar Kelp is sustainably harvested by hand from the wild in Ireland, organically produced, dried naturally and often cut when the leaves are very large. It is also tested for contaminants.
Warnings – eating Sugar Kelp seaweed
Being kelp, Sugar Kelp is very high in iodine. In NZ the RDI is 150mcg. There is controversy over how much iodine one should consume, seek the help of a qualified health professional for personalised advice.