Sea Vegetables

Seaweeds, or sea vegetables, have been part of human diets for many thousands of years. There is evidence from burial sites that sea vegetables were eaten in the Stone Age, and they are mentioned in ancient Chinese and Japanese medical texts.

Low in fat, sea vegetables give us a range of minerals, including potassium, iodine, calcium, magnesium, and iron, as well as fibre.

Agar

Agar

A complex carbohydrate obtained from some seaweeds, agar is mainly used as a food thickener. It is available in threads or as a powder. Agar is flavour-free and is often described as the vegetarian gelatine.

Black Moss

Black Moss

A hair-like seaweed with thin, black strands, Chinese black moss needs to be soaked several times before use. It is often cooked with pork for Chinese new Year celebrations.

Dulse

Dulse

The flat, smooth leaves of dulse have a red pigmentation. Fresh dulse can be used like spinach as a vegetable, or dried and toasted over a low flame and eaten as crisps.

Irish Moss

Irish Moss

Reddish-purple to reddish-green in colour, raw Irish moss is an excellent source of iron. It is used in the food industry as a source of gelatinous carrageenans which set foods.

Kombu

Kombu

Exceptionally rich in calcium, kombu is a wide, ribbon-like sea plant. Good for making stocks, kombu contains glutamic acid, which tenderizes legumes and enhances flavour.

Nori

Nori

Particularly rich in iron and potassium, nori ranges from bright-green to purple in colour. The high iodine content helps to maintain good hearing.

Wakame

Wakame

A deep-green, curly leaved seaweed, wakame is regarded by the Japanese as good for the complexion. The hard central spine of wakame needs to be removed after softening in cold water, because it does not soften on cooking.