Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Seaweed is a sea vegetable

Seaweed has got to be one of the world's most underrated superfoods.  It has all sorts of trace minerals, plus IODINE, which is good for the thyroid and good for fertility and is sorely lacking in the American diet (hence iodized salt--however the iodine they use in that is not naturally occurring--just sayin').

Seaweed is also great for detox.  It sounds strange, but it absorbs a bunch of toxins including radiation.  A doctor working with survivors of Hiroshima made his staff eat tons of seaweed soup--and none of them got radiation poisoning.

Even better, it's free.  On a trip to the pristine Block Island, I read in a histiography how settlers used to fight over the copious Irish Moss and kelp that washed up on the beach after storms.  I even found a recipe for blancmange, a traditional pudding type thing Block Islanders made from seaweed, and after I harvested a bunch of Irish Moss, I made some.  It did taste delightfully like pudding.

In Korean culture, we already eat a lot of seaweed (and traditionally, that's why they say Koreans have such nice hair).  For people unused to the salty, somewhat marine flavor, it can take some getting used to.  Irish Moss is not easily available unless you harvest your own, but kelp is.  I like wild harvested kelp, also because it is done in an eco conscious way.

If you are local to Rhode Island check out She Sells Seaweed; she has a booth at the Pawtucket Winter Farmer's Market where I was first introduced to her yummy Sesame Kelp Snacky Treat.

(p.s. I'm a bit of a raw foodie; I don't even bake mine.  It is a little stickier that way, but yummy.)

Sesame Kelp Brittle
½ cup brown rice syrup
¼ cup olive oil
Dash of shoyu or tamari soy sauce
1 cup sesame seeds
½ cup crushed almonds
¼ – ¾ cup or to your liking of finely crushed kelp (bake kelp at 250 for 10 min or until crisp and grind in food processor)
2-3 tsp of fresh finely chopped ginger root
Heat syrup, oil and shoyu in a small sauce pan. When mixture begins to foam up add seeds, nuts, kelp and ginger and stir thoroughly.
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread mixture onto parchment and then cover with another piece of parchment. Roll out flat with a rolling pin. Remove top parchment.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes- and then for last few minutes check to avoid burning. Remove from oven and rip away parchment after 5 minutes.

To mail order, I highly recommend my friends at BC Kelp, where they also sell a lot of interesting varieties for you to branch out as you get more adventurous.  They have recipes, too.

COMMENT if you want more recipes, like my Korean seaweed tofu soup.  A comforting way to eat seaweed in the winter!

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