I don’t know if you remember Saturday – it was a BEAUTIFUL day, and I was very lucky to be doing a seaweed forage down on the beach at Greencliff near Bideford, N Devon. Our expert on hand was Dr Pip Jollands and she was fantastic at identifying the many different seaweeds – oops sea vegetables – that we plucked off of rocks and out of rockpools.
The tide was not so low as we could get down to the kelp (aka kombu if you buy it in the shops) as it is only exposed at the lowest tides of the year, but we got plenty of sea lettuce, irish moss, dulse and pepper dulse and fucus.
Alarmingly, there was a seaweed that was taking over the rock pools and strangling out the other plants called line weed. It is not a native and has come from abroad on boats that go in at Southampton and is incredibly invasive. The interesting thing is that it is good to eat! Surely an opportunity for someone to make a business and do the environment a favour.
If you are not enjoying sea vegetables in your diet, you are missing out! Sea vegetables are rich in minerals, have just the right amount of iodine, an abundance of proteins, soluble fibres, vitamins and antioxidants, and a particularly well balanced sodium-potassium, calcium-phosphorous and calcium-magnesium content. Selenium deficiency is common nowadays and nori and wakame have the highest amounts. 10 dried grams a day of either of them will cover our needs. Wakame has 11 times the calcium of milk and a high clacium-phosphorous ratio, making it good for hair teeth nails bones and muscular relaxation. Sea vegetables are also high in protein – nori, wakame and dulse give protein values of between 18-29%.
It is also used in slimming treatments, to help keep toxins from entering your system including preventing radioactive elements and heavy metals from being absorbed, they are also antiviral and antimicrobial.
Most people will not be able or will not want to go and collect their own sea vegetables, and most health stores stock them. The most common brand is clearspring. Protect from damp, direct sunlight and heat. Store them in a sealed plastic bag or a glass jar with a lid to stop them from absorbing moisture from the environment. There is no need to store them in a refrigerator. Kept in this way, dried sea vegetables will stay good to eat for years.
There is a long tradition of eating sea vegetables in Devon as well as other parts of the country, the most common variety is laver – you can buy it well cooked in local butcher’s shops as laverbread. This seaweed is what the Japanese call nori. There is also a tradition of eating sampfire, which comes into season now.
Don’t forget to look at my website from time to time to check out if there is anything new happening at www.rawlisa.com
Thankyou to everyone that came! I hope you are inspired to go out and explore the shore again. ;o)