minerals

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

The Unique Uses of Turkish Bath Towel Seaweed

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The health benefits of eating seaweed are widely known, but that’s not the only reason to get your hands on some. Have you ever heard of Turkish bath towel? This red seaweed is unique in both appearance and the ways to use it!

As you can see, Turkish towel has a bumpy texture. Actually, the seaweed’s reproductive organs cause these swellings to form on its surface. When placed in fresh water, they create a clear jelly, which is often used as a gelling agent for several different types of food.

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Turkish bath towel’s Latin name is chondracanthus exasperatus, but that’s a bit of a mouthful. It is widely known as the Turkish bath towel because when you touch the rough papillae surface, it feels very similar to a towel from a Turkish bath.

Interestingly, the blade thickness of Turkish bath towel is determined by its level of exposure. In more sheltered habitats, the blades are thinner, but in more natural and exposed areas, the blades are thicker and rougher to the touch. The gel within the blades is used as an ingredient in all types of things, including cosmetics.

Turkish bath towel can be found right off the coast of California, and its distinct look makes it pretty easy to find! Keep your eyes out for it next time you’re by the water. This seaweed likes to attach to rocks in the low intertidal area. It’s best grown in more exposed areas, as mentioned above. However, it is possible to be air-grown, so long as it is sprayed frequently with sea water.

Aside from being an ingredient for cosmetics and different gelling agents, Turkish bath towel has a few other unique uses. For one, as the name suggests, it can be used in baths as a natural exfoliating bath towel. It’s good for the skin, and the texture is perfect to scrub off any unwanted residue.

Turkish bath towel is commonly used for thalassotherapy, a form of therapy using seawater and sea products to refresh the skin’s pores by absorbing the potassium, calcium, sodium, iodine, and magnesium found in sea water.

Practitioners of thalassotherapy will tell you that Turkish bath towel is most effective for washing when it’s used within the sea that it comes from. That’s not to say that using it in a fresh water bath has no benefits, but harvesting some Turkish bath towel off the coast of California and giving yourself a relaxing wash in the ocean sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?

Add that to the many reasons you should harvest your own seaweed! Although Turkish bath towel is not edible, it has so many unique uses. With many seaweeds available in the California area, foraging for seaweed gives you another reason to spend a day by the water!

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 seaweeds

Bullwhip Pickle Recipe...

You probably like other pickles better...

Why pickle seaweed, of all things? Many things are easier to pickle, and they taste better. I like pickled beets, kohlrabi, dilly beans, corn, radishes, grapes, and even turnips, better than pickled seaweed. Pickled cauliflower, on the other hand, just tastes like raw veggies with vinegar. For some reason, they're not quite right.
 
All these pickles are delicious, and what most of them have in common is that they don’t remind me of anything else. They don’t take me anywhere except to the flavors I'm tasting. Are they good or are they bad? That’s all there is to consider.
 
If it's done right, pickled seaweed transports you to the sea. It takes you up Highway One on the kind of drive where you pull over near the cliffs every ten minutes because it’s just too amazingly beautiful to resist. It takes you back to the first time you went surfing or took a family vacation to the coast. Seaweed doesn’t taste like a vegetable; it tastes like the sea. It's the distilled essence of ocean and sand and abalone diving, and whisky passed around a late-night campfire on a beach on the Lost Coast. That’s why I make seaweed pickles.
 
I use bullwhip kelp, which is commonly found in this region. Seaweed provides many trace minerals you won’t get anywhere else. You can find bullwhip kelp on the beach after a storm. Bend it. If it snaps cleanly, it's fresh; if it bends, toss it. A fun way to source it fresh is to dive for it and cut it yourself. I usually grab some when I’m abalone diving. I've kept this recipe simple, in order to let the briny seaweed flavor shine through.
 

Here's what you’ll need.
 
Food:
 
Kelp (should be fresh, about 4 feet long, and at least 2 inches in diameter)
4 cups Champagne or white wine vinegar
½ cup sugar
8 cups water
 
(It would be cool to try this with seawater. If you try it, let me know how it turns out.)
 
Gear:
 
Peeler
Medium pot
2 containers for the pickles to live in
 

  1. First, get your brine a boilin’. Mix the above ingredients and bring to a boil.

  2. Rinse the seaweed with cold water. Cut off and reserve the blades (the feathery top parts), then peel the stipe.

  3. Slice the stipe (long part) and the bulb (top part) into quarter-inch rings.

  4. Place the reserved blades and seaweed rings in separate containers. Pour the hot pickling liquid over them.

  5. Let them cool, then put them in the fridge. They'll be good for three months.

 
These pickles feature on our Seaside Charcuterie platter, along with a rotating cast of the following: Black cod brandade, pickled wild mussels, pickled mustard seeds, pickled herring, and fried smelt. Though we've been making use of the stipe for a few years, pickling the blade is a pretty recent discovery for us. They are amazingly good, with subtle sea flavor and great texture. The stipe has a more robust texture.

If you want to try ours check them out at this weekends Wild Kitchen:
Tickets here:
Friday, August 14th
Saturday, August 15th
 
 
Enjoy! If you don’t dive for these, I hope, at the very least, you'll get your feet wet while collecting them.