Seaweed is so fashionable these days - it seems like everywhere you turn there is positive news coming out about new health benefits. I saw a BBC article just now which quoted seaweed as a key help in weight loss because it contains Alginate which helps the body to digest fat. The seaweed used in the study was Kelp which is also a fantastic source of Iodine, something many of us are deficient in (have a look at my article in the month’s West Cork People for the low down on Iodine Deficiency - I promise you you will be out searching for kelp pretty fast when you read it!), and it is stocked in many good health food shops as a powder and as a tablet. Another BBC article from the 30th of January last said ‘Seaweed can help to fight drug resistant disease’ and also referred to Alginates, which are apparently being researched by a number of drugs companies for their ability to help fight MRSA. The article said that scientists from Cardiff and Swansea Universities are starting a huge research programme into these benefits (with a budget of £5.4 million!) While we wait for them to work out how to make vast profits from Seaweeds, lets find out how to add it to our family’s daily diet as a food rather than as an expensive drug!
Given the level of interest in the health benefits of seaweed, you might think that those of us lucky enough to live near the Irish coast would be eating it regularly - but though we might be well aware of the benefits many of us are stuck for easy and tasty ways to add seaweed to our diets. We have been trying out different recipes in Organico Cafe and this one has been a huge hit. You can either make it with fresh Channel Wrack (for easy identification look it up in a Seaweed book or on the Internet; it’s very easy to find on West Cork shorelines) or you can buy the dried Mixed Sea Veg which contains 5 types of seaweed and if incredibly easy to rehydrate.
For more recipes why not treat yourself to Sally McKenna’s Extreme Greens (all about seaweeds with lots of useful tips for collecting yourself).
Rachel’s Spring Seaweed and Carrot Salad:
30g mixed seaweed, (I use Mixed sea veg from Quality Sea Veg)
50g sesame seeds
1 bunch coriander
1 bunch parsley
100g sprouted mung beans, I use the ones we sell in Organico which are locally grown.
50g peeled and finely grated ginger
1 big clove garlic, grated
50mls toasted sesame oil
2 tbs* sunflower oil
1 tbs lemon juice
2 dsp* cider vinegar
2 dsp tamari or dark soy sauce
1 dsp honey
few grinds pepper
If you are using gathered seaweed, give it a good wash first. Then soak it (either dried or fresh) in boiling water for 5 minutes, drain, rinse with cold water and tip out onto a clean tea towel to dry. Slice up the bigger bits of Sea Veg into nice small strips. Peel and grate the carrots and put in a big bowl, along with the sesame seeds and sprouts. Chop up the herbs, discarding the tough stems and add to the bowl.
To make the dressing combine all the ingredients together (if you have a hand blender you can use it to mix but its not essential). Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking, it should be slightly sweet with a nutty flavour from the sesame oil and a nice kick from the ginger and garlic. Add half the dressing to the bowl, mix and taste, adding more if you like a juicy salad. This salad will last well for 2 days in the fridge.
*Tbs = Tablespoon
*Dsp = Dessertspoon
Organico Shop Cafe and Bakery is open Monday to Saturday from 9.15 - 6pm (the Cafe from 10 - 5pm). Please call us on 02751391 or visit us online at www.organico.ie for more information, and look us up on FaceBook for tempting Cafe Menues and interesting health tips. None of this information is intended to replace medical advice, so if you are on medication or are concerned at all about your health please consult a medical practitioner before taking any foods in medicinal quantities.