Scottish Seaweed: Ancient Superfood of the Sea

Is Scottish seaweed the next big thing in the foodie world? With its wonderful health benefits, natural abundance and great taste born of Scotland’s waters and landscape, it just might be.

By Carolyn Haitsch

Rory harvesting Alaria

wet Dulse (1)

The nutritional attributes of seaweed are impressive. It offers one of the broadest range of minerals of any food on the planet and boasts a salty flavor with only a fraction of the sodium of sea salt.

But it goes beyond just health benefits. It’s a matter of taste. Seaweed contains the fifth taste, umami, which makes food taste better, naturally, and can range from salty to sweet. No wonder foodies of the world are taking note. Especially of Scottish seaweed in particular, which is harvested from Scotland’s ideally chilled waters.

scotlandshutterstock: Hector Ruiz Villar

Keep in mind that if waters are polluted, then the seaweed that comes from them will be as well. The pristine coastlines where Scottish seaweed is harvested is good reason to look there for your source. With foraging taking place in the pure, cold water on both the west and east coasts, Scotland’s coastline stretches for thousands of miles and includes everything from rocky shorelines to secluded island beaches.

Mara Seaweed, a small family-run company based on Edinburgh’s rugged coastline, specializes in hand foraging. Mara’s chief seaweed harvester, Rory Macphee, explained why Scotland’s seaweed is so noteworthy: “In Scotland we have an ideal habitat for seaweed. First, reduced activity in the coastal zone results in purer waters. Second, seaweed is mineral greedy and Scotland’s fearsome tides are exactly what seaweeds need for high nutrient exchange.”

Michelin starred chefs, culinary icons and celebrity chefs in Scotland and beyond have come to appreciate all that Scottish seaweed has to offer healthy kitchens. Mara Seaweed sustainably harvests three mineral-packed seaweeds: Shony, Kombu and Dulce. Here are some ways to enjoy different varieties of this dried tea-like flake:

Mix Shony or Dulse with butter or oil, coat salmon and bake.

salmon_large

Mix 2 cups tomato juice, juice of half a lemon, 2 tsp. Kombu, ground black pepper to taste and a splash of tabasco sauce. Pour over ice in two glasses and add a celery stick to each to finish. For a festive look, wet the rim of the glass and dip into a mix of Kombu and celery salt before filling. Makes 2 servings.

Tomato-juice_3073732d_grandeMara Seaweed

Stir into avocado and pea dip.

Toss with halved cherry tomoates and olive oil.

Shake over steamed kale or spinach stir-fry.

Spoon into your homemade burger mix.

Toast seeds with Dulse for a superfood salad topping.

Shake Shony on your breakfast eggs.

Sprinkle Shony on your salad.

Stir Kombu into rice.

An incredibly high-energy and low-calorie food source, with the right accompaniments, seaweed can be a flavorful component of a nutrient-rich meal. Join the foodies of the world and give this ancient superfood of the sea a try.

Carolyn Haitsch

Love of food and wine led her back to NYC where she spent years developing recipe collections, attending culinary classes, and searching out the best restaurants in Union Square. When not in the Honest Cooking editorial offices, she can be found in Connecticut doing what she loves best--cooking for family and friends and dreaming up her next culinary adventure.

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