health

Edible seaweeds

Kombu Seaweed: The Umami Superfood!

 

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Sure, when it’s in the sea it might not look very appetizing, but several types of seaweed are delicious when prepared properly. Not only that, but seaweed is packed with nutrients. Take the edible kelp known as kombu, for example. Kombu can be found right off the coast, and there are literally kelp forests packed full of it. Kombu is known for its ability to improve digestion. Packed with amino acids and glutamic acid, eating kombu helps your body break down foods easier and minimizes both intestinal gas and discomfort.

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Sea vegetables like kombu may also help prevent cancer, thanks to their anti-inflammatory benefits. Kombu contains iron, which is a vital mineral for healthy cells, hair, nails, skin, and more. It’s common for people to have an iron-deficient diet, which leads to fatigue and other anemic symptoms. Adding kombu into your diet is a great way to ensure that you’re getting enough.


Kombu is actually the highest in iodine out of all edible seaweeds. In fact, it’s one of the most iodine-rich foods out there. Why is this important? Well, iodine improves thyroid function and is an essential mineral for healthy hormone production. Our bodies do not naturally produce iodine, meaning it’s essential to eat iodine-rich foods like kombu in order to maintain a healthy thyroid.

Lastly, kombu contains a sulfated polysaccharide known as fucoidan, which has been proven to stave off cell inflammation. Therefore, researchers suggest that eating kombu may be a possible treatment for the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. And we haven’t even mentioned all of the vitamins, calcium, and proteins that are found in seaweed! Now that you know all about why you should eat kombu, let’s go over a delicious recipe for you to enjoy.

 

Kombu Dashi (Stock):

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•   Wipe down the surface of kombu, but DO NOT rinse with water (which washes away the umami flavor)

•   Place the kombu into a pot of water (use around 5g of kombu per 500 ml of water)

•   Put on medium heat

•   Take kombu out right before the water begins to boil and enjoy the dashi!

Kombu is famous for its umami flavor, and it is used in Japan to make dashi, which is a soup that can also be used as cooking stock. Dashi is actually the base for many Japanese dishes, including miso soup. While several kinds of seaweeds can be used to make dashi, kombu is one of the tastiest and healthiest choices.

Once you’ve made your kombu dashi, you can store it in your fridge and heat it up when you’re in the mood for some delicious hot soup. Or, you can use it as stock to cook with. It’s an excellent stock alternative for vegetarians. Plus, its unique umami flavor is fun to experiment with and can really open up your cooking options.

 Of course, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the taste and health benefits of kombu than dashi. Kombu can be dried, made into powder, and pickled. It’s even eaten as sashimi in Japan. So, pick up some kombu today and start enjoying its health benefits and unique flavor!

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

Seaside to Table: Foraging and Cooking Nori Chips!

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There’s plenty of reasons to take a trip to the oceanside when you’re in California. Whether you enjoy swimming, sunbathing, beach volleyball, or the relaxing sounds and aroma of the sea, a trip to the coast is always a good time. However, have you ever considered spending a day at the water foraging for native nori seaweed? This turns a fun day outside by the water into a productive one as well.

 That’s right, the California coast has several types of edible seaweed just ripe for the picking. The concept of eating the slimy seaweed from the ocean might seem strange at first, but there are tons of simple nori seaweed home recipes that will leave you wanting more. It’s not just the taste, though, that makes nori a plant worth diving into the ocean for; it’s also packed with nutrition!

Nori is an excellent source of iodine, B12, potassium, protein, and fiber. Not only that, but it’s very low in both calories and saturated fat, making it a true super food. Other nutrients in nori worth mentioning include magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, and calcium.

 

Foraging Precautions

Harvesting your own nori is both fun and satisfying, but it’s important to be careful and stay aware. You’ll often spot some nori near slippery rocks, so don’t let the excitement compromise your awareness on your quest for edible seaweed. Make sure you take it slow, wear the proper gear, and cherry-pick the best and safest places to forage your nori. Once you bring your haul back home, take time to properly clean the seaweed before beginning the cooking process.

Roasted Nori Chips Recipe:

1.) Set your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit

2.) Cut Nori into thin strips

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3.) Place strips on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat (so it doesnt stick) with the smooth-side facing down

4.) Gently brush strips with olive oil and season with salt

5.) Slide them in the oven for 3-4 minutes or until crispy

 

As you can see, it doesn’t take much to make a delicious snack with your nori. All you need is some olive oil and salt, and in a few minutes, you’ve got delicious guilt-free chips to munch on. What beats a salty, crunchy, and healthy snack? Plus they taste even better when you harvest and cook the nori yourself!

 

Get Creative with your Nori Chips!

Of course, you don’t need to cut your nori chips into perfect rectangles. For a more rustic-looking snack, you can get creative and let the chips have their own shape:

If you want to spice up your nori chips a bit, sesame seeds are a great addition to the recipe listed above. You can sprinkle some soy sauce over them, add a bit of spice, and more!

Sure, making nori chips is quick and easy, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a ton of small changes you can make to keep your nori chips new and exciting. It’s a great snack to experiment with, as there are plenty of different compatible flavor combinations.

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!



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Edible Plants

Outtakes from this weeks forageSF Wild Food Walk

We started this past weekend's wild food walk by tasting one of my favorite local plants, the 3 cornered leek (or wild onion lily.) Right now they are in flower, and the white clusters of flowers are not only beautiful, but they pack a nice oniony spice. The greens are also edible and are very mild in flavor. 

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We quickly moved onto to other seasonal delicacies. The nasturtiums we saw, which were looking super robust and healthy, had just revealed a couple of early flowers. Both the leaves and the flowers are edible, and have a nice cress-like spice.

From there we quickly saw oxalis (sour grass) also with a beautiful and tart edible flower. Miner's lettuce, although soon to be gone for season, was still looking succulent and delicious. Chickweed, growing right next to it, was still in its full green glory as well. We only moved about 10 feet before finding stinging nettle, mallow, yellow dock, black sage, and wild radish. We finally made it a little further before discussing the virtues of the only edible fruit we found, the black nightshade. None were quite ripe though. 

Many other plants were discussed, mostly edible. We barely traveled 200 feet before we realized there was enough there for an amazing salad, full of succulent mild greens, radish and nasturtium spice, onion flavor, flowers for visual appeal, and a tart component in the oxalis. This is why Spring is my favorite time of year!

Kevin Feinstein

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Glove Law Update: The Committee on health, and a bill written by a corporate lobbying group

What I’ve learned on the glove law: The last few days I’ve been trying to get up to speed on where this law came from. Who sponsored it? Who voted on it? How did it just appear without anyone in the industry hearing it existed? It’s been an interesting process, delving into the machinery of government, and so far I’ve found out:

The bill was introduced by The Committee on Health in February (weird no one heard about it), which includes our very own Tom Ammiano, and was sponsored (the ones who created the bill), by a group called The California Retail Food Safety Coalition (CRFSC for those long winded acronym lovers amongst us). So that means that this group is the one who actually wrote the bill, and gave it to the Committee on Health to push through. I contacted Pat Kennelly, who is the head of the Food And Drug Branch of California Department of Public Health, who told me that DPH did not advise at all on the bill publicly.

CRFSC is a lobbying group comprised of state health officials and private industry. Some interesting members include:

The head of the California Food and Health Branch, Pat Kennelly, as well as heads of several other California Health departments, Jack in the Box, YUM! Brands (the largest fast food company in the world, they own Pizza Hut and KFC amongst other chains), Olive Garden, and Safeway to name a few.

I am just learning about this group, but for me reading that list is disquieting. Imagining the folks who decide on our health code, the people who are being paid by us to protect and represent the people, sitting in a room creating legislation with fast food and supermarket chains, certainly gives me pause….I sent them a request outlining their justification of the law, and we’ll see what comes out of that.

I also reached out to Assemblymember Richard Pan, who is the chair of the Health Committee, to ask what information factored in their decision to support the legislation.

So at this point it seems that the bill was created by a lobbying group with made up  of CA health officials and corporate food giants, and quietly passed through committee. They did reach out to the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, who as I understand it does not support the bill, but for some reason none of us heard about it….More updates soon.

 

 

 

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Local Fish?

My search for local fish to put in the CSF box took me down to the docks today, where I met Rolando at peir 45 fish, Mitch at Aloha, and Ernie the herring fisherman. The basic response I got when asking what kind of local fish I could expect to buy was a slight chuckle, followed by a diatribe into the reasons that no fish comes from the bay area.  I expected (living in a port town), that I would be presented with a grand list of bay area catch, rotating seasonally. I was wrong. Apparently almost none of the fish we buy comes from local sources, not because it's not there, but because the regulations are such that almost no one is allowed to fish it.  Now I'm all for regulations where they make sense, but regulations that create a situation where it people are forced to import a resource that is available locally seem fishy (punny I know). Granted, I'm a bit of a newb on this issue, and I doubt fisherman and fish wholesalers are the only people with something to say on this issue, but still...crazy. I won't be able to put bay area fish in my CSF, not because they aren't there, but because the powers that be would prefer I get it from Australia.  So remember that next time you go out to your favorite bayside bistro, chances are the fish you are eating are not from our shores. Pelicans...who knew?

Come sunday I'm going to be reeling in herring on this boat!

p.s. got an invite to go out on a herring boat sunday night!!