Seaweed in the News

Maybe it’s spring in the air. But this week the stories are all about food, creative projects, and recipes.

“The Dillisk Project”

Katie Sanderson

photo: The Evening Echo

Young chef Katie Sanderson was featured in “Food Innovator Goes Back to her Cork Roots,” and talks about one of her “heart projects”: The Dillisk Project, a seaweed-themed pop-up restaurant of sorts in a boatshed in Connemara, in the west of Ireland. (Sanderson was born in Hong Kong, but has spent summers in Ireland and is now based in Dublin.) The little restaurant featured all locally sourced foods, beautifully prepared.

“Dillisk was everything I wanted in a project. It was about bringing people to one of the most beautiful places in Ireland and being really connected to the land and to the sea and to the farms. We knew the names of every single person that we got our ingredients from….Each day we would be on the shore at whatever time low tide was and we would be picking seaweed. That connection to the land, to people and to the place was really special.”

-Katie Sanderson

Seaweed for Paleo

The nutritional, and even medicinal, benefits of sea veggies are well known. A recent article on thepaleodiet.com focused on what sea veggies offer for Paleo eaters, such as antioxidants, abundant iodine and minerals, and anti-inflammatory properties.

 

 

Seaweed Salmon Seasoning

And finally here’s a recipe for “Shony Salmon Rub,” coming from Mara Seaweed across the pond. Their Shony is a blend of seaweeds, and here it’s combined with basil and parsley, garlic and lemon to marinate the salmon.

Sea Seasonings - Triple Blend Flakes ShakerOur Triple Blend Flakes also work well in marinades, sauces, salads, and sprinkled on all sorts of foods. A blend of reddish-purple Dulse, deep purple-brown Laver, and spring-green Sea Lettuce, Triple Blend adds a rainbow of colors as well as taste and nutrition.

 

That’s all for now…until next time, Eat your Sea Vegetables!

 

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Seaweed in the News

We looked a bit further back today than just the past week, and re-discovered a couple of stories that are too good not to share.

Seaweed helps save an Island

Hakai magazine had a short piece on the nourishment of seaweed, a local seaweed festival on Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands off the coasts of Britain and France, and how history helped save the people of the island during Nazi occupation in World War II: Nourished by the Sea.

It is comforting to know that the sea sustained my ancestors through that dark and hungry time. Among the stalls, with everyone drawn together by one of the ocean’s most versatile harvests, I realize that the sea sustains something else we could easily lose: our culture.

‘Knights in Green Armor’

kelp line may 2013 showing many stipesBack in January National Geographic’s The Plate delved into seaweed farming in Maine, and potential benefits for the Gulf of Maine’s rapidly warming (and acidifying) waters. The article highlights the work of scientist Susie Arnold of the Island Institute, and kelp farmer Paul Dobbins of Ocean Approved, to measure CO2 levels and changes in pH in areas where kelp is being grown. And suggests that kelp farmers are coming to the rescue, both mitigating ocean acidification and providing food.

Seaweed, or kelp, is a robust crop that requires zero fresh water, arable land, pesticides or fertilizers. When taken from the ocean for harvest, kelp actually removes carbon dioxide, or CO2, acting as a carbon sink.

You know you’ve arrived when…

And on a more recent note, seaweed makes it to the Hallmark Channel! Who woulda thunk…

Dan Kohler's Seaweed Salad Recipe Chef Dan Kohler shares a recipe for Seaweed Salad, calling for “dried seaweed (any kind, or a mix).” Well, we have some suggestions for such a salad–Alaria is delightful when soaked or marinated or blanched, and same goes for Kelp, especially the thinner fronds. You can also mix in Dulse (or Smoked Dulse…yum), Sea Lettuce, or the multi-colored Triple Blend flakes, for beauty and taste.

 

That’s all for now…until next time, Eat Your Sea Vegetables!

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Seaweed in the News

Recipes and ground-breaking in the news this week…

Pirate Brownies!

From the lovely and talented mother-daughter duo of Carly and Claire Weinberg at Dulse and Rugosa, located off the coast of Maine–“Seaweed brownies, moist, delicious, and nutritious.” (They make skincare products with seaweeds and herbs–truly a treat for body and soul. Try the shampoo bar!)

“Our dulse rich  brownies are also known as “Pirate Brownie” because the dulse is soaked in dark rum adding a unique flavor to the mix.”

YUM!

Growing Maine Algae

What are algae, you may ask, and what do they have to do with seaweed or sea vegetables? In short, seaweeds are marine algae–a kind of organism that’s similar in some ways to plants, but also very different. Algae make their own food by photosynthesis the way plants do, and live in freshwater, on land, as well as in the ocean. All seaweeds are algae, but not all algae are seaweeds.

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, down the coast at Boothbay Harbor, is undertaking an ambitious project: “Bigelow to break ground on algae ‘greenhouse.'”

The Marine Algal Research and Innovation Accelerator has received support from the Maine Technology Institute, the Maine Community Foundation, and the Department of Agriculture. The project’s goal is to “find commercial applications for marine algae use.”

“My hope is that the greenhouse will serve as a flywheel that drives innovation. It will accelerate the process of taking ideas for natural products created using micro and macro algae and turning them into concepts,” added Lomas. “The greenhouse will allow us to help other entrepreneurs regardless of where they might be in the process.”

Mike Lomas, Director of the National Center for Marine Algae at Bigelow

Make it Triple Blend

Beer-cured salmon with cucumber and seaweed

photo: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/recipes/beer-cured-salmon-with-cucumber-and-seaweed-salad/

From the Lifestyle section of the Telegraph, a recipe for Beer-cured salmon with cucumber and seaweed salad.

Curiously, the recipe calls for only “mixed seaweed flakes.” It’s not uncommon that food packages or Sea Seasonings - Triple Blend Flakes Shakerrecipes include only a generic term such as “roasted seaweed” or “kelp.” In this case, we think that our Triple Blend Flakes (a blend of Dulse, Nori, and Sea Lettuce) would be both delicious and beautiful in this dish.

 

That’s all for now…see you next time, and until then, Eat your sea vegetables!

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Seaweed in the News

It’s been a busy week.

Super Seaweed

Hopefully the new kelp babies will grow up to look this in late winter 2016!First up, our local public television and radio network, MPBN, ran a very nice story about our friends at Maine Fresh Sea Farms, the many benefits of seaweeds for people and planet (including mitigating the effects of ocean acidification), and seaweed farming: “Maine Seaweed: the next Super-Food?”

“Americans are already familiar with dried seaweed imported from Asia, and foraging for edible seaweeds along the coasts is a tradition that dates back centuries. However – it’s only in the past several years that an active seaweed farming industry has started to emerge here in Maine. Some believe it’s the forefront of a food revolution.”

By any other Name

Some say seaweed, others, sea vegetables. Sea greens is also a popular choice. All have slightly different connotations. And all refer to the beautiful, tasty, and nutritious marine macroalgae that we love.

Another Maine media outlet, the Lewiston Sun-Journal, also recently featured an article about the wonders of seaweed, and Maine restaurants and chefs diving in to the delights of “seagreens”: “Eats: Dishing up ‘the new kale'”

“Seaweed is delicious, I promise. There’s no need to be afraid just because it’s unfamiliar. It doesn’t have to be slimy. It’s not one food; it’s a whole category of foods, diverse in flavor, texture and uses.”

Chef David Levi of Vinland in Portland

Seaweed: it’s what’s for Breakfast

And here’s a story from across the pond about a “new” (though building on traditional) use of seaweed in food–a range of muesli blends featuring Irish sugar kelp, from SeaBeeTree.

“…SeaBeeTree company has developed a range of muesli products made in Ireland which feature seaweed – sugar kelp harvested off the west coast – in what [the company] claims is a world first.”

That’s all for now…until next time, eat some seaweed!

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“Seaweed-held”

April is national poetry month, and to celebrate MCSV’s General Manager Seraphina Erhart dove down and brought up some seaweed-connected poems…

 

The Otters and the Seaweed

This is what you need to know:
you need to know that otters wrap themselves
in seaweed so they won’t,

while sleeping at night, float out to sea . . .
Are you imagining this?
Can you see the otters actually doing this?

Does it break your heart a little?
Does it seduce you just a bit
into loving more

this odd hard world?
Oh otters, wrap yourselves tight! And sleep,
exactly like you do, floating but seaweed-held

in our salty living waters! Oh otters,
wrap yourselves tight! And you,
the one who doesn’t, the one who doesn’t

tether himself down right,
we are with you as you float away,
we are with you as you sleep

and lose yourself in the night.

 

Empty Bowl

Floating seaweeds
in a miso soup
my heart grows
and I find patience
near the bottom

 

Buain duilisg

Seal ag buain duilisg do charraig
seal ag aclaidh
seal ag tabhairt bhidh do bhoctaibh
seal i gcaracair.

A while gathering dillisk from the rock
a while fishing
a while giving food to the poor
a while in my cell.

 – stanza of a poem written by an anonymous 12th century Irish monk and the earliest known record of seaweed harvesting for food (Ó Madagáin, 1994) (Dillisk is a word for dulse used in Ireland.)

 

And the classic, Seaweed, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who also gave us this gem, from The Secret of the Sea

Till my soul is full of longing

For the secret of the sea,

And the heart of the great ocean

Sends a thrilling pulse through me.

(with thanks to the folks at Maine Seaweed Festival, who put these lines on their canvas totes…LOVE!)


Sources:

Buain duilisg

The Otters and the Seaweed, Teddy Macker

Empty Bowl, Reza Mahani

Seaweed, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Secret of the Sea, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Sea Veggies go to School

EEMS 3rd grade Apr 2016

A frond of Sugar Kelp is held aloft by eager learners at Ellsworth Elementary School.

Twenty students at Ellsworth Elementary Middle School dove right in to an afternoon of hands-on exploration of vegetables from the sea last Thursday, April 14th. The subject was met with some skepticism by the sharp-minded students of Mrs. Backman’s third grade: “How can kelp be a vegetable? It lives underwater!” We investigated the similarities of land plants and sea algae, but had to concede that sea vegetables are not scientifically categorized as plants. The kids were especially fascinated by the root-like holdfast of the giant Sugar Kelp we brought in and first of all needed to know, “Can we touch it?” The slick alginate surface encouraged many ooh’s and aww’s as well as curious questions about health and beauty benefits of rubbing it on your skin. The reactions to the news that most of them have already eaten seaweed in the form of ice cream were mixed. Some were thrilled and others less so, but declared the realization did not diminish ice cream’s deliciousness.

EEMS 3rd grade Apr 2016 5

Students getting a close-up look at rehydrated seaweed samples.

The highlight of our classroom visit was the rehydration exercise. Each child was given a magnifying glass, a cup of water and a piece of red, green and brown seaweed (dulse, sea lettuce and sugar kelp). They each looked on in wonder as their tiny samples unfolded and seem to come back to life before them. They observed that the smell, texture and color were all enhanced by a quick soak in the water. Some remarked that the water even took on some of the color of the seaweed.

The next part of our adventure was to taste. Kelp Krunch™ bars were joyfully passed around and again there were mixed reviews. Most of them loved it and declared that they couldn’t wait to tell their parents that they had eaten seaweed!

As the Kelp Krunch™ bars were munched, we moved on to the inaugural round of a new game we call “Kelp-o.” Each student received a bingo card with pictures and new terms such as fronds, stipes and holdfast, as well as new concepts like sustainability, aquaculture and wild harvest. “Kelp-o!” was eventually achieved by a couple of students and they all went home with Kelp Krunch™ bars to commemorate the adventure. All in all, it was an exciting day of seeing, touching, tasting and learning about this little-known, but gaining in popularity, superfood.

EEMS 3rd grade Apr 2016 2Many thanks to Healthy Acadia and their Food Corps volunteer, Ali Mediate, for helping make this amazing connection.
~Kara Ibarguen
MCSV Community  Outreach
(and Krunch Baker!)

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Seaweed in the News

This week, a little departure–we’ll focus on seaweed-related books that have either come out or come to our attention recently.

For many years we’ve had The New Seaweed Cookbook by Crystal June Maderia on our shelves, and enjoyed its recipes. We were excited to see that Maderia has published the second edition, a lovely little book. From seasonings and salads, to main dishes and desserts, the recipes feature sea vegetables and other nutrient-dense foods in beautiful creations. Maderia also runs Kismet, a farm-to-table, whole-foods restaurant in Montpelier, Vermont.

coverWholeBowlAlso new on our shelves is The Whole Bowl, from Rebecca Wood and Leda Scheintaub, with everything from stocks to stews and extra-hearty soups, all gluten- and dairy-free. Sea veggies are included in some recipes, and the authors feature a kombu-shitake stock, to “double the umami–earthy–flavor.” Rebecca Wood, “whole foods pioneer and diet consultant,” has lots of information on seaweed, health, and cooking on her site. Leda Scheintaub is also the author of Cultured Foods for your Kitchen.

Looking back a little further, Fiona Houston and Xa Milne published seaweed and eat it, a family foraging and cooking adventure, in 2008. The duo went on to found and run Mara Seaweed in the UK. This book is all about getting out in nature and experiencing the world through wild foods. The section on seaweed features seaweed information, lore, foraging tips, and of course recipes.

We will be taking a Seaweed in the News break next week–see you in a couple of weeks! Hopefully it will feel like spring here in Maine by then. In the mean time, get out, get cooking, and eat some seaweed!

 

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Yam fries with seaweed seasoning, from “The Organic Gourmet”

Yam fries with sea veg Leslie Cerier 2016

Yam fries with Dulse and Nori seasoning…yum! Photo courtesy of Leslie Cerier.

Leslie Cerier, a chef, author, wellness coach, caterer, and educator also known as “The Organic Gourmet,” recently shared with us a recipe for yam fries dusted with seaweed and other goodies, which were a hit at one of her workshops. Leslie specializes in vegetarian, vegan, local, organic, seasonal, and gluten-free cooking and has been creating nourishes dishes with sea vegetables for many years. She also co-authored the cookbook Sea Vegetable Celebration with MCSV founder Shep Erhart.

This dish is not only delicious and nutritious, but filled with gorgeous color–one of the hallmarks of Leslie’s recipes. The version pictured here was seasoned with a blend of Dulse and Nori, lightly toasted, plus Kelp powder, toasted sesame seeds, and sea salt. Leslie’s website has a recipe with a slightly different seasoning, this time with hemp seeds in place of sesame. And in one of her cookbooks, Going Wild in the Kitchen, is yet another seasoning blend, this one combining nettles with the seeds and seaweeds.

A big thank you to Leslie for sharing this recipe, and for all of her work connecting people to the goodness of sea vegetables. I bet this dish will show up at one of our company birthday potlucks sometime soon!

 

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Seaweed in the News

Let’s get a bit more science-y this week.

Who are you, anyway?

The Marine Stewardship Council and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council are working to develop a global standard for sustainable seaweed production, something that many see as long overdue. Maine Coast Sea Vegetables has been committed to sustainable harvesting from the beginning (along with many other Maine seaweed companies), so this is an interesting development.

Photo of seaweed with small swollen areas at the end of each frondJust in this week, news that the ASC has come out in favor of DNA testing to confirm the identity of seaweed products and materials, and improve traceability. Seaweed & Co. and a lab in the UK have also recently announced development of a “DNA-based certification test” to trace authenticity in seaweed products.

Going for the gut

Here’s one from back in February, but noteworthy enough to share: scientists recently completed a study of the bioavailability in humans (whether and how much of a substance gets taken up by the body when a food or material is ingested) of a type of phenolic compound that’s unique to brown seaweeds (such as the rockweed, Ascophyllum nodosum, on the right). Study results suggest that the compound, called phlorotannin, was metabolised and may have anti-inflammatory and other beneficial effects in the lower digestive tract.

The heat is on

Gracilaria2.JPGAlso coming in with the news tide this week was a story about how climate change is affecting a whole economy based on the work of African women seaweed farmers. The news is not good.

“After tourism revenues, seaweed exportation is the second biggest contributor to Zanzibar’s economy and employs thousands of women…When the seaweed is exposed to high temperatures, it gets stressed and can die.”

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Seaweed in the News

This week, it’s all news related to Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, all the time. Let’s start with a little video fun…

Fresh DulseThe Wonders of Dulse

From Superfooddrinks.org, an article and video all about Dulse. They mention MCSV and other good sources (thank you!). Check it out to learn more about Dulse, what it looks like, where to find it, and the good stuff that’s in it. The site has articles and videos about other seaweeds, too.

The Kids are All Right

greenhouse dryingLast week, MCSV customer service and education & outreach team member Jean visited Herring Gut Learning Center in midcoast Maine. A group of Herring Gut students have been learning about seaweed aquaculture, and are running their own kelp farm. Jean toured the facility with the kids, learned about their kelp farming adventures, and “talked shop” about how to use and create products with seaweed. Read more in an article on the Herring Gut website.

Fun in the Field

IMG_2479Two of MCSV’s favorite seaweed scientists, Jessica Muhlin and Nic Blouin, are teaming up again in July 2016 to teach “Introduction to Maine Seaweeds: Identification, Ecology, and Ethnobotany.” The course will be July 24-30 at Eagle Hill Institute in nearby Steuben–a stunningly beautiful location for what is sure to be a fantastic course.

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