Seaweed (sea vegetables) is an excellent source of minerals, especially iodine. Seaweed is an essential source of minerals and crucial to well-being, as intensive commercial agriculture has depleted the soil of minerals. Many different varieties of seaweed are available, and their taste blends well with meals and snacks. Here are some of the more popular varieties:
Arame is a black, thread-like seaweed that turns dark brown when cooked. It has a mild taste and goes well with grains, vegetable dishes, salads and soups. Dulse is reddish purple and goes well in soups, salads, vegetable dishes and as a condiment over grains. It cooks instantly in soups and stews. Kombu and kelp are similar. They are large, thick sea vegetables, high in minerals, especially iodine. Because of their thickness, soak for at least an hour before cooking so they become soft enough to eat. They make a tasty stock (dashi) for soups and noodle dishes. Kombu cooks well with beans, lentils and chickpeas or in stews. It’s easy to cook a big pot of beans with kombu or kelp that lasts four or more days, eating a daily portion with soup or stew. (Kelp is also available as a supplement in granulated or tablet form. Take one to two teaspoons of the granules or five to ten tablets daily.)
Nori (laver) is a type of seaweed in thin, paper-like sheets, which cover sushi rolls and rice balls. Nori is not as rich in magnesium, calcium and potassium as other sea vegetables, but it is tasty as an addition to soup, stews and as a snack. It is dark when dried and turns green when toasted over a flame.
Wakame is a long, thin seaweed that soaks and cooks quickly. Cut off and throw away the tough stem before cooking. It goes well with vegetables in soups. Pre-cooked instant wakame is very handy as the quickest seaweed dish of all. The largest supplier of sea vegetables has been Japan, where they have always been a staple. However, many consumers are now concerned about radioactive contamination after the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster. There are companies such as the Seaweed Man in the U.S. and Algamar in Spain that sell clean seaweed from the Atlantic. Good-quality seaweed is also available from Tasmania (Australia) and New Zealand.
Eating the Wu Way - Steven Acuff