Our Edible Ocean
Words & Photos by Jenn Bakos
Information Provided by Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, Inc.
It may seem odd, unattractive even, but the harvesting of sea veggies has gone on for years and years. We have learned that Native Americans used to harvest these vitamin-filled greens as well as others from around the world. It may be something you’ve heard of being used in cuisines of different Asian cultures, but the great thing is that we can find and grow these plants right in our own backyard. Well, if you’re on the ocean that is.
The harvest begins in April and continues at different times until October. All the plants must be tested for heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, and microbiological contaminants.
These plants have more vitamins and minerals than any other class of food. They are full of vitamins A, B, C, and E. They also produce a large amount of essential sugars, proteins, and
fibers. Seaweed has a high iodine content, which is great for those with thyroid troubles, and it is an antidote for radioactive poisoning. Some studies even show signs that consumption may inhibit tumor formation. The benefits are outstanding, so adding this to your diet seems like it would greatly improve your health, don’t you think? The biggest complaint we hear is that the ocean taste is too overpowering, but when cooked the right way with other ingredients, the seaweed transforms into something delicious. There are many ways to add seaweed into your diet and it is fairly easy to find in stores. One of our favorites is Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, based out of Franklin, Maine. They helped us out by providing a wealth of information and some samples to try out.
For those skeptics out there, we encourage you to try one of the following tasty, ocean inspired recipes. You will find that the health benefits actually come second to the delicious taste.
New England Dulse Chowder
Recipe courtesy Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, Inc.
1 cup water
1 medium onion, diced
2–3 medium potatoes, chopped
1 oz (about ½ package) dulse
½ lb fresh or frozen corn
1 quart plain soy milk (not lite)
White or yellow miso
Black pepper to taste
¼-½ tsp tarragon (optional)
In a medium pot, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add diced onions, then potatoes, and cook 5 to 10 minutes. Next, add the dulse and corn, and cook for 1 minute. Add soymilk, reduce the heat to a simmer. Be sure not to boil the soymilk or it will curdle. Stir occasionally. The dulse will separate into pieces after a few minutes. Add miso, pepper (and optional tarragon) and serve! Serves 4.
Kelp with Rice
Recipe courtesy Maine Seaweed
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small sweet chopped onion
1 carrot, grated or chopped
3 garlic cloves,
minced thyme to taste
½ cup soaked kelp, chopped
3 cups warm cooked brown rice
sea salt to taste
Cayenne or fresh grated ginger juice to taste
1 tbsp. roasted sesame seeds
Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic. Sprinkle with thyme, cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in the kelp and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cooked rice, stir in the ginger juice or cayenne, sprinkle with salt and sesame seeds.