Seaweed has undergone a rebrand — it’s now called sea vegetables, and food-trend analysts say we’re all going to be eating it this year.
High in nutrients and low in fat, sea vegetables (not including the Chinese takeaway stalwart, which is actually shredded cabbage) include nori, which we’re used to seeing as a wrapper for sushi, and other lesser-known types such as dulse and wakame.
Purply-red dulse is harvested from rocks in the North Atlantic early in the morning when the tide is low, just as monks on the Scottish Isle of Iona did 1,400 years ago.
You have to wash it and soak it for ten minutes, and it has a salty flavour and chewy texture.
If you’re not mad on the taste, sprinkle flakes of it on salads, while health nuts can stir large strands of it into stews. You can also sprinkle it on to pasta or even serve it with fried or scrambled eggs.
A spokesman for Itsu, which claims to have been ‘first to the market’ with its Seaweed Thins snack, says: ‘From a health perspective, what really stands out is seaweed’s high iodine content — iodine stimulates the thyroid, which manages mood, energy and metabolism.’
Sainsbury’s says sales of its sushi nori seaweed have shot up by 35 per cent in 18 months — with a rise of 40 per cent on the previous year in January alone — and the store attributes that to customers learning about its health benefits.
Here are some of all the supermarkets’ best offerings from the ocean.
Itsu Crispy Seaweed Thins
£1 for a single 5g pack or £1.95 for a pack of three, most major retailers. Available in Original or Wasabi flavour, this seaweed from the clear seas around Korea has fewer than 25 calories per pack and can be eaten as it comes or crumbled into other foods.
Photo: Itsu Crispy Seaweed Thins
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