What is Wakame seaweed?
Wakame, a ‘brown seaweed’, is one of the sweeter seaweeds and is is easily recognized as the seaweed in Japanese miso soup, which has been enjoyed in Asia for centuries. Easy to prepare, nutritious and versatile, it suits both Asian & Western type dishes.
Wakame (also known as Undaria) is an easy seaweed to start with if you are not used to eating seaweed as it has a it has a mild taste, silky texture & attractive green colour. Wakame, is not native to NZ but grows well here.
Pacific Harvest carries 2 varieties of Wakame: NZ Wild Harvested and Farmed Wakame also called ‘Cut Wakame’.
New Zealand Wakame Leaves are hand harvested, and dried naturally to preserve nutrients. When used to wrap food, it adds nutrition, flavour & preserves moisture during cooking. The white powder that covers the surface of the dried leaves is called ‘Umami’, an amino-acid that rises to the surface of the plant as it dries, and is highly regarded by chefs which use it to naturally enhance & balance flavours in a dish.
Farmed/Cut Wakame is conveniently sliced into bite-size pieces and re-hydrates in a matter of minutes. The dark colour of the dried pieces will turn green and the individual pieces will expand 10 times. Easy to prepare, nutritious and versatile,
What are the health benefits of Wakame seaweed?
Wakame is highly recommended in the Macrobiotic diet because of its highly alkaline qualities. In Japanese folk medicine, it is known to cleanse and strengthen of the blood and is often given to people recovering from disease or women who have just given birth. Wakame is very nutritious: an excellent source of minerals (esp. calcium, manganese, iron & magnesium), a good source of iodine, vegetarian protein, dietary fibre, essential amino acids and many vitamins (A, C, K, B complex). Wakame also helps omega fatty acid balance by being an excellent source of Omega 3s. To keep the nutrients intact, just soak the dry seaweed in tepid water or add at the very end of a warm dish.
How do I cook with Wakame seaweed?
Wakame is one of the most popular & most delicious seaweeds to eat. It is very versatile and can be easily re-hydrated back to its original state in a matter of minutes (5-10 minutes in tepid water). The dried leaves will also recover their natural khaki colour upon re-hydration, and expand roughly 5 times in size.
The texture is silky & visually appealing and its delicate taste makes it easy to include in a variety of dishes including . miso soup, Asian soups or salads,. Try it in more western-type preparations like vegetable stir-fry, Tofu salads and potato cakes. It can be used as a wrap to bake fish. A cousin of the Atlantic seaweed Alaria, it is suited to the same applications. Use Wakame as you would spinach or other green leafy land vegetables. Here are some recipe ideas for NZ Wakame or farmed/cut wakame
NZ Wild Wakame will keep for years when kept dry and away from light. The leaves will expand about 5 times upon re-hydration; soak only what you need as shelf life is short after reconstitution (1-2 days in the fridge).
Where is Pacific Harvest’s Wakame sourced from?
Our NZ Wild Wakame Leaves are harvested in the North Island of New Zealand and are tested for contaminants.
Our Farmed/Cut Wakame is grown in China by a Japanese company. It is a high quality product we are proud to distribute – it is thoroughly tested for contaminants.
Warnings – eating Wakame seaweed
Farmed Wakame will expand about 10 times upon re-hydrating, a teaspoon of dry flakes is usually sufficient to prepare a salad for one. Once re-hydrated, wakame doesn’t keep well so just reconstitute as you need to.