most people love nori, arame and hijiki, if you aren’t keen on the texture of kombu
and wakame, simply add during cooking and remove before serving, or blend
Sea vegetables have been used in the UK for thousands of years – we’re island
with the food you’ve cooked them in.
folk after all, and our ancestors valued them as a delicious and nutrient-rich
part of their diet. Laver bread – made from dulse – is a well-known Welsh dish,
Getting to know your sea vegetables
but other types of sea vegetables, such as kelp, were also eaten throughout
England, Scotland and Ireland. If you like to buy local food, choose Atlantic-
Arame (pronounced ‘ahrahmay’) thin black slivers that look a bit like dry
farmed varieties. However, the Japanese types are well worth investigating
tangled string until hydrated. It has a fairly mild, sweetish flavour and can be
– and overall have a very low carbon footprint compared to fish or other animal
added to stews, soups, salads and is very good with rice. It is an excellent
source of protein, calcium, iodine and potassium.
Hijiki looks very like arame, but with a milder taste.
Sea vegetables vary in their nutrients, but their riches include generous
Kombu (kelp) dried strips, often used to make stock for Japanese miso
quantities of iodine, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin K and some B vitamins. Indeed,
soup. Also excellent when cooked with pulses – a strip of kombu reduces the
nearly all of them are far higher in calcium than cow’s milk – arame contains a
‘flatulent’ qualities of beans and lentils! Remove from the pan before serving
staggering 1,120 milligrams per 100 grams, compared to 118 milligrams per
– or else blend with stock for future use. Kombu is very rich in iodine and
100 grams in cow’s milk. In addition, sea vegetables contain good amounts of
calcium, so much so that people in Eastern countries who use a lot of kombu
lignans, plant compounds reported to have cancer protective properties.
in cooking don’t need to use iodised salt. Kelp powder is another good way of
using this superfood (don’t overdo it though as the iodine level is quite high).
Regarding iodine, while many of us in the UK have iodine levels that are too
low, as with all minerals and vitamins, it’s also important not to have too much!
Wakame looks rather like kombu until hydrated, when it fans into large leaves.
Just check the packaging for recommended intake. The RDA for adults is 140
Also used for soup stock, amongst other things. It’s even richer in calcium than
micrograms per day – children need much less.
kombu, though much lower in iodine.
Nori paper-thin sheets of black-coloured compressed sea vegetable, used
And of course, not only are sea vegetables kinder to animals and the planet,
to make sushi wraps. Dulse is its wild relative found around the British Isles,
but their nutrients are more easily absorbed by the body. Being lower down
whereas nori is farmed in Japan and has a milder taste. Nori is sold in thin,
the food chain also makes them far less polluted than fish.
pre-toasted sheets, but also comes in flakes (eg Green Nori Sprinkle from
Clearspring) as a condiment to sprinkle over soup, rice and salads.
Sea vegetables are available from good health and Oriental stores and (mainly
nori sheets) in some larger supermarkets. Most require soaking in water before
Dulse very rich in iron and protein. (See Nori).
cooking, except for nori. If using kombu or wakame as part of a soup, you do Agar-agar a vegan alternative to gelatine, can be used to set jellies and
not need to soak it, just add it to the pan and let it cook in the soup. While so forth.
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