[USA] A succulent red seaweed has been created that is packed full of protein, but unlike any other ‘superfood’ proclaimed as the world’s next culinary saviour, you might actually want to eat this one.
And that’s because it tastes just like bacon.
The new strain of dulse is a variation of a seaweed that grows in the wild along Pacific and Atlantic coastlines and is sold in dried form as a nutritional supplement.
Researcher Chris Langdon and colleagues at Oregon State University’s (OSU) Hatfield Marine Science Center patented the new strain of seaweed after working on for the past 15 years.
‘When you fry it, which I have done, it tastes like bacon, not seaweed. And it’s a pretty strong bacon flavour,’ said Langdon.
The new strain, which looks like a light red lettuce, is an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants and is 16 per cent protein in dry weight, according to researchers.
‘Dulse is a superfood, with twice the nutritional value of kale,’ said Chuck Toombs, faculty member in OSU’s College of Business.
‘And OSU had developed this variety that can be farmed, with the potential for a new industry for Oregon.’
Langdon originally bred the strain as a fast growing source of food for sea snails eaten is Asia called abalone.
‘The original goal was to create a superfood for abalone, because high-quality abalone is treasured, especially in Asia,’ Langdon said.
‘We were able to grow dulse-fed abalone at rates that exceeded those previously reported in the literature.’
But when Chuck Toombs paid Langdon a visit, he noticed the vat of dulse bubbling away in his office, and had the idea to grow the aquatic crop for human consumption.
Toombs began working with OSU’s Food Innovation Center in Portland, where a product development team created a smorgasbord of new foods with dulse as the main ingredient.
Among the most promising were a dulse-based rice cracker and a salad dressing.
Gil Sylvia, director of the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport is a seafood economist, and has said that although dulse has great potential, no one has yet done a full analysis on whether a commercial operation would be economically feasible.
‘That fact that it grows rapidly, has high nutritional value, and can be used dried or fresh certainly makes it a strong candidate,’ he said.
The researchers are now hopeful that the new strain will provide a thriving new local industry.
‘The dulse grows using a water recirculation system,’ Langdon said.
‘Theoretically, you could create an industry in eastern Oregon almost as easily as you could along the coast with a bit of supplementation. You just need a modest amount of seawater and some sunshine.’
Photo: Seaweed Sarnie? Dulse seaweed being grown and harvested at Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport Oregon. Chris Langdon has been growing and studying it for decades and is now working with the Food Innovation Center in Portland on creating healthly and appealing dishes.
View original article at: Scientists create strain of dulse seaweed that is packed with antioxidants but tastes of pork