Now that you’ve chosen your first sea vegetables, you have to figure out what to do with them. Here are some tips for making sure you use them effectively.
- Always read the instruction on the pack carefully, some sea vegetables need soaking for longer than others. Some you cook with dried, like kombu, whereas others you soak and then cook, like hijiki, arame and wakame.
- Roasted sesame oil is a very nice seasoning that seems to complement the texture of many kinds of seaweed. I find that toasted sesame seeds a great match with soaked and cooked seaweed as well.
- Try mixing seaweed with carrots, onions and cucumbers to begin with, you will soon get the feel of it and begin to experiment more with this group of foods.
- Add a two-inch piece of the flat seaweed kombu to dried beans when you are cooking them, the cooked beans will be easier to digest.
- Rinse then roast some sesame seeds with sea salt, perfect with seaweed.
- Add seaweed to casseroles, stocks or vegetable soups.
- Make miso soup and add seaweed to this.
- Try making your own sushi, you can even lightly toast the nori sheets to add extra flavor. I like making sushi with quinoa and tahini instead of rice and sweet rice wine vinegar. You’ll find a recipe online.
- Add soaked seaweed to your favorite salad, toss in a little toasted sesame oil and add a few roasted sesame seeds for a real taste treat.
- Try to saute’ some arame or wakame with carrot strips and onion, and again, try the sesame oil and roasted sesame seed combo, it’s absolutely delicious!
- Agar agar is seaweed that sets like jello; you can make a really nice dessert with agar agar and blueberries for example. Look online for recipes on how you can incorporate this unique seaweed into your diet because it has great prebiotic properties.
- How about a sandwich with arame or dulse? Saute’ one of these seaweeds and have on some toasted sourdough bread along with avocado, delicious.
Sea Vegetable Pollution Warning
Unfortunately the world’s oceans are becoming increasingly polluted, and with only about ten percent of the world’s population living in the Southern Hemisphere, it stands to reason that the cleanest oceans are down under. We are fortunate living in New Zealand, and have possibly the world’s cleanest ocean, the Southern Ocean. Some of the world’s best wakame comes from the South Island of NZ, and the flavor is quite amazing.
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There has been a lot of concern amongst scientists over the past several years with regards to the high levels of pollution in the world’s ocean waters. Sea vegetables readily absorb what is in the water surrounding them, including heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, lead and cadmium, and if they have been harvested in polluted waters or around large industrial cities they are likely to contain heavy metals and other potentially toxic elements. Deep-sea kelp is a safer alternative for example than wakame that may have been harvested close to the shoreline.
Some forms of seaweed have been discovered to contain high levels of arsenic, while others have been found to contain traces of mercury. Try to get a high quality product harvested in areas known to contain low levels of pollution, and make enquiries with the company if you are uncertain as to the origin of the product.