The Ocean’s Super-food Vegetable
How to harvest, prepare and store your seaweed for home use
Harvesting seaweed from your local coast line should not be scary. Just the thought of it and pretty much everyone I know looks at me with an icky face and nods in discomfort. However, if you are someone that braves the unknown with the promise of an incredible natural fountain of youth, the sea’s vegetable is available now.
I personally have wandered the Oregon coast on several occasions and explored the different species that grow in massive groves right off the shores. It is best to do this fun activity during the lowest tides of the week or even month. You’ll see no short supply of seaweed as most shorelines supply enough vegetable to feed an entire city. It’s truly unfortunate that western culture is so against the idea of eating seaweed because it may be instrumental in fixing our modern health issues.
If you’re worried about local regulation regarding harvesting seaweed, don’t be too afraid because most regions allow for the harvesting of 17 pounds of seaweed per day!
However, a warning! You should check online to see if there are any types of seaweed that you should not eat that grows local to where you are harvesting!
What Tools Will You Need?
- A simple tidal chart – This handy little paper can be found at restaurants and shops on coastal towns, usually for free.
- A sharp knife or tool to cut the plant. – One sided blades are better in most cases.
- A net to bag your goods. – Something water can flow through.
- Dress appropriately to get wet. – Yes, getting wet gets you the best seaweed.
Find The Best Seaweed Location
The best seaweed if found in areas during low tide and at the places with the least foot traffic. I tend to avoid places where high tide doesn’t always reach and it may look like there is stagnant water in the tide pool. You can check this by feeling the water. If the water is warm, you don’t want to harvest from there.
Don’t be afraid to travel down the beach a little more than usual to find the best spots. Seaweed tends to grow best around rocks but you can find it other places as well.
The best seaweed will often be unattractive at first sight!
You will be drying the seaweed and transforming it into more attractive edible forms so don’t worry about looking at a piece of seaweed and thinking ” damn, why would I ever eat that?”. Harvesting seaweed is about getting free vegetarian mineral-dense food in your diet as a supplement not a main course.
TIP: Harvest seaweed by cutting the plant off 3/4ths the way down and leave 1/4th attached to the rock or sea bed. This is important to allow the plant to grow back and you to be a sustainable rock star.
How To Prepare Your Seaweed For Eating
The easiest and most convenient way to prepare your seaweed for your dinner table is to dry it out. It is not in the same ballpark as fresh seaweed but fresh seaweed doesn’t fit into a westerner’s diet as easy as drying the good stuff so that will have to do. (Check out our store tab above for fresh seaweed options.)
Transporting your seaweed after you harvest depends on how far you are going. If you are going straight home and you can get there within 6 hours just keep it in the bag. If you’ve got a longer trek or you will be over night, I’d suggest getting your seaweed on ice so that it will not start to break down and get mucous induced.
Drying the seaweed that you harvested is as simple as rinsing it, hanging it on a line or laying it out in the sun, flipping it on occasion. You can’t go wrong here…unless you don’t rinse it. Then you’ll probably get a lot more sea salt than you anticipated.
How to Cook with Seaweed
Once you dry the seaweed you can rehydrate it in soups or pasta by simply placing strips of the seaweed in as you cook even if you don’t end up eating the vegetable directly! Why? Because adding the seaweed will infuse the foods you cook with the mineral rich organics that get extracted by the hot water. It’s not as effective for your health but it’s better than nothing.
Crushing your dried seaweed is a great way to add the benefits. In the photo above you can see bowls of crushed seaweed that are perfect additions to meals such as pasta or even tacos. You can even get fairly cook crafty and add other seasonings to your crushed seaweed and make a delicious and nutritious specialty seasoning for meats and other foods.
Eat it like chips. The seaweed that you’ve harvested can be transformed into the healthiest snack on the planet, no contest. If you like eating chips, you’ll enjoy a well crafted dried seaweed chip when you hear the benefits of eating seaweed.
Get your kids started early on seaweed chips and you’ll set them up to think like a healthier person.
Why Even Harvest Seaweed?
Friends, listen up. The current trajectory of the market in 2017 is that food should be convenient with disregard to nutrition. We have to stop this train, hijack the conductor and start going down different tracks. Harvesting seaweed or even buying natural seaweed and introducing it to our diet can have drastic health benefits including maintaining a healthy body and restoring an unhealthy one.
The sea plant is not a normal vegetable, it includes every trace element that our body needs to thrive and some nutrients that can only be found in seaweed. The plant is the source of omega-3 for fish, fish don’t produce it naturally. It contains naturally occurring vitamins, and there is a difference between Flintstone vitamins and plant vitamins!
Enjoy life friends, thanks for reading!