A Conversation for Seaweed
Spy Started conversation Aug 18, 1999
There are many other ways of eating seaweed, as well as many other types.
(all of these ones are edible)
Nori is usually sold as flat sheets, dried - used in sushi (as mentioned), as a rice topping, in miso soup...
Wakame - Thicker than nori sheets, with more bite to it. Good as a salad dish - eg along with some crab sticks & a light vinegar dressing.
Hijiki - thin strands, like hair. Nicest way I've had it involved cold pickling it with some sesame paste and rice vinegar.
Konbu or kombu is used in the making of dashi, as Japanese stock that has as its other main ingredient dried, flaked bonito (a type of tuna)
Laver is still made into laver bread, where the seaweed is boiled until it becomes a gelatinous mass, which is then fried. A Welsh delicacy.
Dulse - purple. Never eaten any yet.
Kelp - laminaria digitata. The stuff with the long stalks and leaves that look like hands - hence digitata.
and lots of others...
Seweed is increasingly sold as "sea vegetables" (or worse, "sea veggies) - a rather twee method of avoiding people associating it with the icky bits tangled in their hair.
If you want to gather your own, make sure you know where the nearest sewage outfall is... Also, make sure the stuff is *fresh* - don't go for the stuff washed up on the shore. It isn't - and it'll probably be crawling with sandflies by the time you get to it (thats where they lay their eggs).
Probably the best way to learn more about the different types is to get hold of a book on sea life. As for edibility, try a book such as "The SAS Survival Handbook" - melodramatic title, I know, but some good stuff on foraging; or "Foods for Free".
And remember folks - whilst "if it moves, you can eat it" holds true nearly everywhere, if it doesn't move, you can contemplate just how daft eating it may be for far, far longer.
Seaweed / MSG
The Dancing Tree Posted Aug 18, 1999
Indeed, seaweed is surprisingly delicious. And, if I remember correctly, seaweed makes up a large part of MSG (mono-sodium glutimate) which is added to a whole bunch of foodstuffs (crisps, confectionary, tinned goods, etc) in order to make them a little more palatable.
Seaweed / MSG
Binky the Doormat Posted Aug 18, 1999
Yeah, I remember being told in primary school that toothpaste had seaweed in. I refused to brush my teeth for ages... What a pain in the neck I was! I've since eaten seaweed a few times and found it generally delicious.
Bruce Posted Aug 19, 1999
Seaweed is also a traditional dish in the West Country of the UK (Devon, Cornwall etc) where it is called laver (or sometimes lavver). Basically it is fried kelp. Some people prefer it crisp & some prefer it soggy - rather like bacon. In fact it is often eaten at breakfast with bacon & is quite yummy.
Spy Posted Aug 26, 1999
Ah yes, I forgot it was a Cornish delicacy too.
But then, the Cornish are almost indistinguishable from the Welsh
Seaweed / MSG
Spy Posted Aug 26, 1999
Dunno about MSG - I thought that was a land vegetable derived thing (when it isn't synthesised).
However - caragheen, caragheenan, Irish Moss - call it what you will - is used in a lot of things as a gelling agent or thickener. Sometimes also referred to as an alginate.
An example - vegetarian gelatine. Unlike the traditional stuff, made by the good, old fashioned and unhealthy method of boiling bones & hooves (or is that glue?) until they form a paste, you adopt the new, trendy, healthy method of boiling seaweed until it forms a paste. Actually, that doesn't sound *all* that different to laver bread.
Oh - Irish Moss is also used in beer making, as a flocculant. In other words - it causes all the trub & proteinaceous matter to gather together and land in a thump at the bottom of the beer. Hopefully. Isinglass - or shredded sturgeon's swim bladder - is the traditional thing to use, but that is kind of expensive these days, not to mention being more difficult to keep.
Bruce Posted Aug 26, 1999
No need to duck - unless you want to say something about the Australians & the Welsh - sorry I missed your laver ref in the first post.
Spy Posted Aug 27, 1999
Australians and the Welsh?
Nah, that's Kiwis.
Zico Posted Jun 6, 2000
Having been served Seaweed Soup on a recent trip to South Korea, I can reveal the recipe forthwith :
1. Go to the seaside.
2. Fill bucket with seawater.
5. Feel wretched for 12 hours.
Spy Posted Jun 12, 2000
Ah. That would perhaps be something to do with failing to observe the first bit, "know where the sewage outfall is", would it?
Zico Posted Jun 13, 2000
Yeeeeessssss... perhaps I should have said something about avoiding Southend.
bookgrrl Posted Jun 14, 2000
I've purchased dried seaweed in sealed packages for snacks. When I was a vegitarian it reminded me of beef jerky and made me happy. It gives you awfully bad breath, though, when eaten in this form. I'd suggest a breath mint chaser.
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