Humans have been eating seaweed for millennia. Many early communities lived close to the shore because the seas offered a constant and dependable food source. Neolithic communities in Britain for example clustered around coastal lands where rich and diverse foodstuffs were readily available. The west coast of Scotland is peppered with brochs and burial chambers from Neolithic times and earlier. The farmers of those times would certainly have supplemented their shellfish and seafood diets with some of the local seaweeds.
Laver or lava (Porphyra umilicali) is the word for a type of kelp much used by the Irish and the Welsh. In Wales it is still made into flat cakes called lava bread. Japanese Nori is a similar plant; there are several good variants available. The Welsh still eat their lava bread with cockles and sometimes with bacon. It is now mainly harvested in Scotland.
LAVER or NORI
Palmaria palmata, or dulse is reddish brown and is accounted a delicacy by many. It has doubtless been harvested for many, many a century but the earliest recording of it is 1400 years ago; St Columba and the monks of Iona ate it. Icelandic peoples also used it from early times. Now it is being cultivated and sold as a gourmet food. In Nova Scotia it is called Sea Parsleyand is sold fresh. The Irish call it "dilisk"or "dillisk"and you can buy it as a snack food in some pubs.
CARRAGEEN (CARRAGHEEN) or IRISH MOSSCarrageen, or Irish moss, (Chondrus crispus) is widely used in all sorts of food products because it has emulsifying and gelling properties. It is used to thicken foods and produces a colourless jelly-like consistency, so it is used in lots of commercial desserts. It's also the vegetarian answer to gelatine.
KELP or KOMBUKelp (Laminaria digitata)is found in many areas of the world. It is a brown seaweed with literally thousands of varieties. It is found in all sorts of commercial products, from toothpaste to fertiliser. As it is exceptionally rich in iodine, it used to be the main source for preventing goitre and treating thyroid conditions. It is still highly rated by naturopaths and nutritional therapists for that use.
Wakame (Undaria pinnatifida) is a type of kelp. It's a tasty and valuable seaweed which can be added into soups and stews. Wakame is mainly produced in Japan and the far east though there are now wakame producers in France (Brittany). It is regarded as a serious pest in New Zealand because it is invading coastal waters.
Seaweed is available in most health food shops, including Holland & Barrett in the UK. You can also often buy seaweed in Chinese grocery stores. Some varieties are available on-line from Amazon, including Nori.
The taste is fantastic and it adds another dimension to your cuisine. Seaweeds are full of valuable nutrients. (I know I felt almost immediately a lot healthier once I started eating them!)
From the host's desk
Today, because of strong recommendations from friends and relatives, these seaweeds are more frequently consumed. Many have found it helpful and effective in dealing with the following health conditions, namely :
b) lowering hypertension for many end-users;
c) controlling of hyperglycemia level (diabetes patients);
d) detoxification for the whole digestive and intestinal systems;
e) improving skin complexion tremendously, especially for the ladies.
For item (e), just grab a handful of the said seaweed and place them into a small bowl. Pour a certain amount of hot water and let the seaweed melted off and dissolved into the water. Leave the water to cool down and them wipe them evenly on your face.
Do not throw away the water that is used to rinse the dried seaweed (which is usually slimy too). They are very beneficial to your potted flower plants, or fruit trees (grown in your backyard). Mine have grown to more healthy and blooming nicely after using such water, to water them.
The best way to consume such seaweed for optimum effect is to eat them raw, in the form of salad dishes. The choices are up to each individuals.
I used to grab a handful of them (bought freshly from the market, or after rinsing the dry ones in water, for about 2 - 3 hours) and place them in a bowl.
Add in slices of tomatoes, grapes or green apple, a tablespoon or 2 of apple cider vinegar and extra virgin oil. Some would like to sprinkle some sesame seeds to add flavours, or slices of onions. This side dish can be prepared on your table everyday. The children will love them too.
Try them today and you will enjoy the endless benefits from it for your whole family. Otherwise, you can also get some recipies from the sellers to guide you.