For this blogging project I had hoped to obtain fresh, locally-farmed seaweed, but this task proved much more difficult than expected! Dried sea vegetables are already available at most natural foods stores (for a pretty steep price) but fresh sea vegetables (undehydrated) are a rarity. However, the dried products that I worked with for all of these blog posts rehydrated quite nicely and apparently suffer little to no nutritional loss as a result of the drying process. We won’t be finding fresh sea vegetables in the produce section of every grocery store until there is a larger demand from consumers for these products. Join the cause and become a sea vegetable pioneer in your own kitchen! Continue reading “Eat Your [Sea] Vegetables! Sustainable Farming (Kelp DESSERTS)”
The old adage that one can have “too much of a good thing” is supported in spades by a phenomenon that is plaguing many waterways around the world. Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous are integral to the healthy functioning of marine ecosystems, but are often raised to unnaturally high levels by human activities such as agriculture, lawn-fertilization, and sewage treatment. This overloading of nutrients into a body of water is called eutrophication. This environmental affliction is unpleasant for both humans and animals alike, and can even have lethal effects. As a result of eutrophication, many waterways suffer from harmful (toxic) algal blooms as well as hypoxia: a low-oxygen state in which few organisms can survive.
How do we combat this menace? Limiting nutrients at the source is one strategy—for example, using less or organic fertilizers would reduce the amount of nutrient runoff associated with agriculture and lawn-care. A second strategy is to clean up the problem downstream by using up these excess nutrients through the cultivation of seaweed! Continue reading “Eat Your [Sea] Vegetables! Fighting Eutrophication (Alaria recipe)”
Seaweed (a.k.a. sea vegetables) is an informal catch-all term used to describe multicellular algae species, that—you guessed it—come from the sea! Seaweeds can be classified as red, brown, or green varieties. Most species attach themselves to the ocean floor, while a few species float freely near the ocean surface. Most seaweed growth occurs along coastlines where water depths are shallow enough for sunlight to reach seaweeds anchored to the seafloor. Seaweed is a vital part of the ecosystem in which it grows, acting as a source of both food and shelter for other organisms. With a little encouragement from chefs (and Oprah?) I hope that seaweed will soon become a vital part of the American diet!
Seaweed offers many health benefits, and some even argue that we should be eating seaweed in every meal! A simple google search on the health benefits of seaweed will yield a multitude of websites and peer-reviewed journals eager to inform the public about this underrated “superfood”. This label appeals to a health-conscious audience, but likely repels all others. If you belong to the latter category but are open to an easy entry point, then I invite you to try Dulse!
Seaweed has been unnecessarily limited to the realm of east-Asian cuisine, making only rare appearances in the average American’s diet as sushi or miso soup. In this series of posts I am hoping to introduce you—dear reader—to a few varieties of sea vegetables, including some unconventional ways to use them. There are many benefits associated with the culinary use of sea vegetables for both humans and the environment, so let’s get ‘em on our plates! Continue reading “Eat Your [Sea] Vegetables! Cooking Beyond Nori (Laver Recipe)”