Seaweed is getting a lot of attention for being a power house of nutrients. But, many people are confused on how to include them in their daily food routine. Fret, not! There are many ways to include seaweed in your diet, from gel capsules to putting it in a salt shaker or in the classic sushi. It can also be easily added to soups like Miso and casseroles in the form of seaweed rice cakes and chips.
In the Caribbean, a traditional drink still enjoyed today is an aphrodisiac potion made from Irish moss (a variety of seaweed named for its moss-like appearance) with milk. In some regions, rum and spices are added for extra potency. In Tobago, you’ll get a scoop of it made into ice cream, served on a cone.
And while culinary use of seaweed is reserved for dairy products in the Caribbean, in Japan, seaweed is served as a salad, a wrapper for sushi and even dried and used as a salt-like seasoning. In New England, seaweed is used to steam shellfish at clambakes. A variety commonly called sea lettuce can be dried until crisp and served much like paper-thin potato chips.
Seaweed Health Effects
.Protective: anti-radiation, anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-toxic, anti-rheumatic, antibiotic, antibacterial, alterative.
.Nutritive: trace mineral supplement, cardio-tonic, rejuvenative, aphrodisiac.
.Mucilaginous: Emollient, demulcent, aperient, anti-constipative, diuretic.
.Anti-stress: Analgesic, calmative, anti-pyretic.
You can read more benefits of seaweed here: Seaweed is a Natural fat burner &Aphrodisiac
Common Types of Seaweed
Dulse is a red seaweed and can be bought either whole or as flakes. Dulse sold as flakes does not need to be soaked and can be added straight to any meal. It’s often eaten as a snack or used to flavor various things from soup to pizza in countries that border the Atlantic Ocean (especially Ireland). Whole dulse is better soaked, drained of water, and sliced before adding to your dish. It is great to use as seasoning on salads, vegetables and soups.
Kelp, also known as brown algae, is the most common seaweed found along the ocean shores. Due to its thick leaves it is perfect for a hot seaweed bath. It is also available in supplement form.
3. Kombu (brown)
Kombu is pretty chewy and not very pleasant to eat by itself, but kombu is often used to add flavor to other foods, and it’s a common ingredient in Japanese soup stock and broths. Sometimes, it’s also made into a tea called kombucha (no relationship to the fermented beverage kombucha). It has been used in Japan for centuries as a mineral rich flavour enhancer.
Arame is a black stringy looking seaweed. It needs to be soaked for a few minutes before it is added to cooking, where it will double in size. It can be added to any grain dishes, stir fries, soups, salads and curries.
5. Nori, or Laver
Nori is botanically red, although it’s dark green on your plate. It’s usually used to wrap sushi; it’s also packaged as flat, crispy sheets flavored with various spices. You can make your own at home, but make sure you use the untoasted nori sheets for maximum nutrient content.
6. Wakame (green)
Wakame is a main ingredient in miso soup. A deep green seaweed, it’s sold fresh or dehydrated. It tastes best when hydrated in water for a few minutes before being used.
Of course, there are many more edible species of seaweed, but most of them are quite difficult to find outside specialized or ethnic grocery stores. When sourcing or buying seaweed, choose certified organic brands when possible. Seaweeds will absorb the properties of the water in which they are grown, so you want to ensure that they have been grown and harvested in unpolluted waters that are pure, and free from harmful chemicals.
How to include seaweed in your diet
Many types of sea vegetables require soaking for 5-10 minutes before adding to your dish. However, it’s best to follow the directions on the package. The soaking water can be used for soups or used in sautéing vegetables. Other types of sea vegetables such as nori and kelp flakes can be used without soaking.
-Slip a sheet of nori into a wrap before you roll.
-Cut nori to size and layer inside sandwiches and burgers.
-Tear or cut nori into salads, soups or stir-fries.
-Make maki rolls and little individual hand rolls with any filling you like, inside a nori cone.
-Drain and mash a can of salmon with cooled, cooked brown rice, mayonnaise, green onion and celery, and roll up inside a sheet of nori.
-For a snack, toast strips of nori in the oven at low heat.
-Cover a sheet with cooked brown rice; add a layer of sliced carrots, celery, or avocado, and a dash of wasabi. Roll it up and dip in a sauce of tamari, toasted-sesame oil, ginger, and rice vinegar.
-Make homemade vegetable sushi rolls by wrapping rice and your favorite vegetables in sheets of nori.
-Finely chop or snip dried seaweed into mashed potatoes, pasta dishes, stews and casseroles.
-Pulverize dried seaweed in a food processor and sprinkle over almost anything!
-Use dried Spirulina which is rich in protein (each tbsp. contains 4 gms of protein) by adding it to smoothies or soups.
-Mix spirulina into spreads like hummus.
– You can use Kelp or Wakame with sesame oil, freshly grated ginger and sesame seeds for a healthy salad.
-Soak the leaves in cold water until tender, then enjoy them in a cucumber salad, dressed with rice vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce.
-To make miso soup, add wakame, tofu, and a few tablespoons of miso paste to a kombu stock
-Soak the arame strands in cold water for five minutes.
-To make a summer salad, toss them with pasta, sautéed mushrooms, tomatoes, basil, and olive oil.
-Dress up any cooked grain with chopped arame.
-Add to stir-fried vegetables; arame pairs well with turnip and squash.
-Combine soaked hijiki with shredded carrots and ginger. Mix with a little olive oil and soy sauce.
-Purchase dried brown or green kelp seaweed strips and add them to breads, pizzas, potatoes, pastas, casseroles, stews and soups.
-To make a flavourful broth called dashi, simmer a strip of dried kombu in water for five minutes.
-While cooking beans, throw a kombu leaf in the pot; the plant’s glutamic acid renders the beans more easily digestible and less gassy.
– Add a strip of kombu to your sprouts when soaking them to allow them to soak up the minerals.
-Cook seaweed in Miso broth along with marinated tofu as a nutrient-dense soup.
-Make seaweed chips by drizzling olive oil onto fresh seaweed pieces and baking until crisp.
-Seaweed can be cooked with little oil, salt and pepper.
-Fresh, leafy seaweed can be chopped and added to kale or collards.
-Because of seaweed’s natural, slight fishiness, it’s perfect in fish chowders, fish casseroles and seafood pastas.
How to make Bladderwrack Tea
.Gently simmer a handful of fucus for 15 minutes in enough water to cover. OR, fill a quart jar only full with dried bladderwrack; add boiling water to completely fill the jar
.Cap and let steep overnight.
.Next morning, strain, warm and enjoy, seasoned to your taste.
1. Seaweed- Shitake Mushroom Soup
Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes
• .6 whole dried medium shiitake mushrooms.
• .6 cups warm water
• .4 medium-sized pieces wakame seaweed
• .1 medium onion, quartered and sliced thin
• .3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
• .2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
• .2 tbsp dry vegetable stock powder
• .2 tbsp chopped dulse seaweed
• .2 tbsp soy sauce
• .1 tbsp rice vinegar
• .3 tbsp minced scallion greens for garnish
• .salt and white pepper to taste
.Rinse mushrooms and wakame thoroughly, and soak it in 2 cups of warm water for about 10 minutes, or until soft.
.Heat 1 tbsp of the left-over warm water that you soaked the mushroom-seaweed in medium-sized soup pot.
. Add onion and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes stirring frequently.
.Add garlic and ginger and continue to sauté for another minute.
.When mushrooms and wakame are soft, slice the mushrooms thin and chop the seaweed.
.Cut out stems when slicing mushrooms and discard.
.Add to soup pot along with soaking water, and 4 more cups of water and dry vegetable stock.
.Bring to a boil on high heat.
.Once it returns to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.
.Season with soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt, and pepper.
.Finally, add minced scallion and serve.
2. Carrot-Onion Hijiki
Prep and Cook time: 40-45 minutes
You will need:
.1 cup dried hijiki
.1 cup warm water
.2 tablespoons olive oil
.2 onions crescent cut
.2 carrots diagonal cut
.1 tablespoon tamari
.Soak hijiki in water about 20-30 minutes.
.Cut onions in half from top to bottom, then cut into slices.
.Cook onions in oil until very brown.
.Put the carrots in an even layer over the onions.
.Top with a layer of hijiki.
.Add tamari and about half of the soaking water and cover pan tightly.
.Cook until the carrots are tender.