One of the most common questions we answer is, 'How do I eat seaweed?'. Recently, more people understand the nutritional & wellness virtues of seaweeds, but it's still a challenge to make seaweed a part of the diet consistently enough, to make a difference to health & well-being.
Of course, seaweed can be eaten fresh, cut out of the sea just the same way we collect vegetables from our garden. Just like land vegetables, seaweeds come in great variety and their availability is seasonal (for most of them). For that reason our ancestors - and we do the same today - dried it naturally and stored it to use throughout the year. Dried seaweeds are not compromised in any way when they are naturally dried. This preserves their nutrients, and 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.
Seaweeds are versatile and can be enjoyed in many different ways. It is our goal to inspire you to use these nutrient-rich plants regularly, you'll feel a lot healthier for it! Here's how to start:
1. Use seaweed seasonings:
Used as a salt alternative or to replace other condiments, Kelp Seasonings (high levels of iodine) or Furikake Seasonings (a mixture of 5 different seaweeds - wide range of nutrients) are an easy first step to add seaweed in your diet everyday. This will add flavour and seaweeds have a number of important characteristics which make them an excellent condiment:
- seaweed tastes salty, but has with 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.
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. This will have a very delicate taste and can be used for all of your meals including stock. I make a big pot and freeze portions that I will use in individual recipes whenever stock is required. Other seaweeds can be used to make stock but Kombu (made from kelp) has traditionally been the seaweed of choice by Japanese chefs. 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, according to your taste. Many nutrients are released in the stock, mainly minerals & trace elements, some vitamins, amino & fatty acids. Of course 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 fibre 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! It's a small amount daily that makes a difference. 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 and increasing to a more significant amount over time. Be sure to check the iodine levels - 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 or Wakame) around food for steaming or baking preserves moisture, imparts nutrients and a balances flavours. Additionally, the seaweed tastes delicious, especially when it gets crunchy 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 to your food.
Look at our recipe section for inspiration. Whether you love to cook or prefer to buy food already prepared, it is easy to just add a bit of seaweed.
Seaweeds pair equally well with meat, vegetables, fish, baking, breakfast foods, smoothies etc...even desserts!
It is more a matter of finding out what you like and the combinations that you like the taste of.
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.