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MORAN: Eating the seaweed at the beach

July 05, 2017 - 12:00 PM

 


OPINION


There is a food that can provide us with weeks worth of rare and important nutrients in mere handfuls. It is also the most ignored and unused source of flavour and calories, despite being easy to harvest and abundant.

Seaweed is one of the greatest foods on Earth. It is edible raw, great cooked, and dries very easily so it can be kept for months. There are many types of dried seaweed available from specialty shops but they are not from Canada. These are mass-produced and somehow the suppliers have wrecked the quality and they are no longer as enjoyable. Also, they mostly come from Japan where there is major concern of contamination from radiation.

I have never had any store bought seaweed that compares to hand picked seaweed from the west coast of B.C. The only way to get good quality product (so good it can be eaten dried like chips) is to order direct from a picker or small supplier online. The other option is to get out there and collect it yourself, but that is not so easy for us landlocked folks in the Interior.

The other method of harvest on B.C.'s coast is commercial harvest by boat. This harvest, for some strange bureaucratic reason, must be processed and chipped in a government facility. It ends up having all the tough parts of the plant, such as the anchor, mixed in to the batch and is not easy to handle compared to the clean, whole product from a knowledgeable picker.

With a small boat and wetsuit one person can easily collect one or two hundred pounds of fresh seaweed in a day. Not much compared to the thousands of pounds harvested by boat, but it is still more than enough to make a decent amount of money and provide this tasty, healthy food to hundreds of people.

Seaweed is adapted to sun exposure at low tide and will dry very well. When rehydrated in salt water a person would never notice that it had been dried at all.
Sea lettuce, dulse, wrack, caragheen, and especially kelp are all worthy of their own recipes and are only a tiny sample of the potential awaiting us on the rocks at low tide.

Check out my Facebook page Everything Wild to stay up to date on our local foraging scene.

— Scott Moran is a local forager discovering his own path to food freedom


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