edible seaweed

Edible seaweeds

Nori Seaweed (Laver): The Intriguing Health Benefits of the World’s Most Popular Seaweed

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Laver, or nori, is a kind of red algae and is probably the most widely-eaten seaweed in the world, primarily as the wrapping for sushi. Laver is also commonly served as flat crispy seaweed sheets that you can get at most grocery stores. Aside from having a delicious nutty flavor once dried, laver is packed with nutrients. Check out the long list of vitamins and minerals found in laver:

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•   Calcium

•   Choline

•   Copper

•   Folate

•   Iron

•   Magnesium

•   Manganese

•   Niacin

•   Omega-3 Fatty Acids

•   Omega-6 Fatty Acids

•   Pantothenic Acid

•   Phosphorus

•   Potassium

•   Riboflavin

•   Selenium

•   Sodium

•   Thiamin

•   Vitamin A

•   Vitamin B12

•   Vitamin B6

•   Vitamin C

•   Vitamin E

•   Vitamin K

•   Zinc

As you can see, laver is dense with daily essentials and unique health benefits. For one, it is rich in iodine, which supports thyroid health. Like so much seaweed, laver is renowned for its anti-cancer and anti-viral properties.

Laver has also been shown to improve gut health and is recommended for people suffering from certain types of digestive ailments. The list of laver’s health benefits goes on and on, so it’s not crazy to call it a superfood.

Now that you know laver’s health benefits, you might be interested in foraging for it yourself. That’s right, you can collect your own laver right on the coast of California! It likes to grow on rocks by the water, and when you find some, there should be plenty of it to harvest. Take a look at the picture below so you know w
hat to look for:

 

Proceed with caution when harvesting, as the rocks will be slippery. Make sure you

have somewhere safe to store the laver, such as a cooler. Once you get it back

home, there are several ways to prepare it. You can make something simple, like

seaweed chips, or you can get a bit more adventurous with some unique recipes.

 

Welsh Laverbread Recipe:

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•                       600g fresh laver seaweed

•                       3 tablespoons olive oil

•                       1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

•                       salt and pepper, to taste

•                       4 slices bread

•                       butter, to taste

Prep the seaweed by rinsing it off and then letting it simmer for 6 hours until it turns pulpy. Once this is done, simply mix in the seasoning, olive oil, and lemon juice, and give it a good stir. All that’s left to do is to toast the bread, add some butter, and spoon the laverbread on top. Serve immediately after making.

In Wales, this dish is known as bara lawr. It’s so popular there that you can actually buy canned laverbread. However, there’s nothing quite like cooking something that you foraged for yourself. Not only does this ensure you have the freshest ingredients, but there is a great deal of satisfaction that comes with eating something that you harvested in the wild. What better way to spend a day by the beautiful California coast than harvesting delicious and nutritious seaweed?

Ready to get out there and collect your own? Our Seaweed Adventures on the Sonoma coast are great for the beginner or veteran forager. Click below for dates and see you on the beach!



Edible seaweeds

Bullwhip Kelp: The Seaweed You Can Pickle!

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When you think of foraging for edible native plants in California, seaweed probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, the truth is that California’s coast has several tasty and healthy types of seaweed that can be easily harvested. Bullwhip kelp, for example, is high in protein and dietary fiber and contains nutrients like potassium, magnesium, iodine, and more. You can usually find it washed up on the beach after a big storm. To tell if its fresh, pick it up and bend it, if it snaps, its good to eat, if not, keep looking. It can be harvested in both the spring and the summer.

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Bring a knife and plastic or mesh bag, so you can cut the choicest bits. Both the stipe (stalk), and blades (flowing fronds on the top), can be eaten. For the stipe you’ll want to peel off the outer layer, I find a regular veggie peeler does the trick.


That’s one of the great things about harvesting seaweed — once you find some, you find a lot. Therefore, keep your eyes peeled for seaweed on the surface of the water so you know where to begin harvesting.

It’s best to collect in areas that seem clean and do not have a lot of pollutants. Since bullwhip kelp forests are so dense, it’s easy to take far more than you can use. Plus, you’ll need to process the bullwhip kelp within the first day or two of harvest, so make sure you’re ready to prepare it right away to limit waste. When choosing which kelp to harvest, beware of any white spots, beaten up edges, or if the texture is not smooth to the touch. These attributes indicate that the kelp is too old for good eating.

 Bullwhip kelp is an interesting seaweed with bulbs, stipes (stems), and blades (leaves). Each part can be eaten. The bulbs and stipes, for example, can be pickled, while the blades can be dried into chips and added to soups and other meals.

Pickled Bullwhip Kelp Recipe:

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Kelp stipes

Kelp bulbs

Cayenne peppers

Garlic

Fresh dill

Pickling spices

2 quarts of apple cider vinegar

3 quarts of water

1/4 cup of pickling salt

1/4 alum or grape leaves

If the kelp looks like it should be rinsed off before you start, make sure you do it with sea water rather than fresh water if you can. but fresh is fine too.. First peel the outer layer off the stipe with your veggie peeler, and cut the bulbs and stipes into roughly ¼ inch pieces. Place the desired amount in a mason jar and add a clove of garlic, cayenne pepper, and a sprig of dill in there with it. 

Next, heat up the vinegar, water, alum/grape leaves, and pickling salt. Once it starts to boil, pour the brine into the mason jars. Sanitize the lid, and then put the cap on and wait for it to pickle!

Pickled kelp is both delicious and versatile. You can basically use it anytime you would use a pickle. Whether you put it in sandwiches, make your own relish, or eat it on its own, there are plenty of ways to enjoy pickled bullwhip kelp. Once you add this nutritious seaweed to your diet, you’ll likely make foraging on the coast a fun part of your spring and summer routine.

Ready to get out there and collect your own seaweed? We’ll take you up the coast to collect all the seaweed you can carry (10 lbs is the limit, which is A TON). Click below to see our current dates:



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