Pepper Dulse

pepper dulse

Pepper dulse, osmundea pinnatifida grows on the mid to lower shoreline and I think it is the smallest of all the sea vegetables I forage. This sea vegetable is in season from December to May and best harvested with a sharp scissors and much patience.  Growing only 1 – 8 cms in length makes it fiddly to work with. However, it is worth the effort, pungent and full of flavour. I love it fresh but if you are adding it to a salad, just remember a small bit goes a long way. Use it like you would a herb not a lettuce! Dried and crumbled, it is perfect as a seasoning for seafood dishes. It is considered quite a delicacy and  in some circles is known as “the truffle of the sea”. See for recipe ideas.

Seaweed for Health

Selection of Veggies from the Sea Garden

Selection of Veggies growing in the Sea Garden

Seaweed has been used medicinally in it’s natural form throughout the ages. In Japan, women are given a seaweed soup for a month after giving birth to help them build their strength. It’s full of vitamins and minerals and you will find that different seaweeds, have different levels of each. This natural source of goodness is easy to add to your favorite foods. Without making any big changes, you can make a big difference in your overall health by including 1 -2 tablespoons of seaweed a week in your diet. See for ideas to get you started and remember, everything in moderation! 

Good for bones

  • Seaweed can have up to ten times the amount of calcium that milk has and also iron, phosphorus, copper, potassium, boron, zinc, and over 30 other minerals. There are not many foods that have such a broad range of minerals. And that’s important because no one mineral makes your bones strong. It’s the balance of all essential minerals that builds up bone. Seaweed calcium extract is an effective calcium and magnesium source for improving bone health compared to synthetic calcium and magnesium supplementation. 

Strengthens immune system:

  • Your immune system is a network of organs and tissues that help fight off illness.  A study published in the Journal of Applied Phycology in June 2012 found that seaweed helped to strengthen immune system functions in HIV/AIDS patients. Scientists observed over a three-month period that patients eating just 5 grams of seaweed daily helped ward off increasing numbers of virus counts. Additional research has found that regular seaweed consumption yielded a positive impact on the body’s ability to stifle viral and infection rates.

Fights cancer:

  • Seaweed contains fucoidan, a complex polysaccharide, one of many polysaccharides found in kelps and other seaweeds. In research in Japan, fucoidan administered to cancer cells in a laboratory dish were virtually wiped out within 72 hours. Is good for the prostate and helps prevent growth of tumors and cleanse the body of radiation

Aids your digestive system

  • Seaweed is recommended for digestive and colon health. The nutrients contained  in seaweeds help cleanse the colon and improve digestion and absorption. This is believed to be due to the antibiotic activity of seaweed that destroys harmful anaerobic bacteria.

Helps your thyroid gland

  • This gland produces thyroid hormone (TH), which regulates, among other things, your body’s temperature, metabolism, and heartbeat. Things can start to go wrong when your thyroid is under- or over-active and even a mild deficiency of iodine can manifest itself subtly. An under-active thyroid can make one feel sluggish and tired, you could have difficulty losing weight, find your skin dry and suffer from depression. An overactive thyroid will make you anxious, unable to relax and often have difficulty concentrating due to the production of too much thyroid hormone (TH). It is important to check with your doctor if you think you suffer from either condition. 

Diabetes – type 2

  • Brown seaweed extracts appear to have the ability to interfere with the release of simple sugars from the gut, which in turn reduces high blood sugar levels after eating. Fucoidan, which is found in kelp, is a type of dietary fiber and belongs to the polysaccharide family. It has been found to balance blood sugar levels, prevent insulin over response and promote healing amongst other things, such as fighting cancer cells.

    * People with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or at risk of diabetes should avoid all processed sugars.

The above information is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose any ailment that you might have. We strongly advise that you contact your health professional about any medications or health problems that you have.

Dulse – Palmaria Palmata

  • Dulse (Palmaria palmata) Full of that umami flavour!

Plamaria Palmata also known as dulse, dillisk/dilsk or creathnach is coming the end of it’s season. A good reason to get out there if you haven’t already and harvest some of this natural wonder. It’s classed as a superfood due to it’s dense nutritional value and has a distinctive umami flavor, especially when fried or roasted in the oven quickly. Researchers at Oregon State University say that they have recently “discovered the unicorn – seaweed that tastes like bacon” and it’s really just this old Irish favorite.

This seaweed is a red algae that grows along the coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and is in season from June to September. It should be cut carefully making sure you do not take too much from any one plant and always leaving the holdfast (where it attaches to the rock or other seaweed) undisturbed.

The blades (leaves) can vary in shape depending on the location and age of plant. It branches out into finger-like extensions and grows at the low water mark and shallow sub tidal areas. Can often be found growing on the stipes of the Laminaria Digitata and Hyperborea at a very low tide.

 As you can see in this photo, use a sharp scissors to give the plant a little trim! Then move onto the next one…