Following up on my last post concerning the use of Seaweed, I discussed the prospect of harvesting the underwater plants for the use as food with my children. My daughter, who is a huge consumer of seaweed (she loves Japanese food), was very excited by the idea. She told me she would love to try the plants. While I didn’t get a glowing response from my two sons, I am sure they would at least try it. So I have been looking into what type of seaweed is edible and available near my home. From some preliminary reading, all seaweed around Tasmania are edible, yet not all seaweed tastes good. I found some great sources of information in my search.
I found information on Wikipedia, which lists several types of seaweed which grow off the coast of Australia.
So from the information I found there I have found some great candidates for eating.
One of these is Scytosiphon lomentaria, which apparently grows in an area which I can access. In a great resource on the subject, Edible Seaweeds of the world, lists Scytosiphon lomentaria as something regularly eaten in Asia. I am unable to verify whether it is true, I guess I will have to find some and try it myself.
Another great source is the book from 1988, Tasmanian seaweeds for the edible market. It contains a great table, showing different ingredients of the seaweeds, as well as a survey which they conducted concerning which types of seaweed had economic potential. One form I know which is in demand due to its taste is Undaria. If I can find Undaria, also called Wakame, I would be pretty happy. Although it is considered an invasive species, it has a great taste (I have tasted it before) and is one seaweed I would be confident my children would like to eat. According to The Marine Algae of Tasmania Check List with Localities, it does grow around here, so I may be in luck.
Wakame has a slightly sweet taste. I have only eaten it dried, and seasoned with salt. It is really tasty when it is like this. The other types of seaweed are a bit of a mystery to me, one which can easily be rectified by a short trip to the beach.
I have seen some people eat seaweed straight from the ocean, which is something I have never tried. I admit that it would have disgusted me in my youth, yet during Season one of History Channel’s Alone, there were plenty of people chowing down on seaweed.
Alan Kay, also from the first season of Alone, has a diet that seemed to consist of a large amount of raw seaweed. Spoiler alert to anyone who hasn’t watched the first season of Alone… Alan went on to win the series. So if Alan survived on it, it can’t be that bad a source of nutrients.