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We only began incorporating foraged seaweed into our diet this year (2020) but have eaten the dried stuff for years (mmm…Nori…mmmmm).
We’re only learning to identify and cook the many varieties that are around South Australia and, fortunately, all of our easily accessible seaweeds are edible. ‘Edible’ doesn’t always mean ‘tasty’ though, so there are some that are more commonly foraged than others.
Our local governments have some pretty strict rules about harvesting seaweed. This is a way to protect the marine environment but is a bit heavy handed. We don’t need to go out into the ocean or even onto the rocks to pull up live specimens and disrupt ecosystems here in the North of Adelaide. We don’t have any rocks locally to harvest kelp from, so have to make do with what is blown up on the beaches or into the shallows.
In the vicinity of Gawler, we get masses of Sea Grass blown up onto the beaches after a good storm and the gems that we find within the piles of this is what we harvest. The stuff blown up onto beaches is called ‘wrack’. One day, I’ll get down South to get some of the other edibles. Seagrass is not seaweed, it is a terrestrial plant that has made its home in shallow water. Seaweeds are Algae and have different growth patterns to that of Sea Grass. On our coast both blow ashore together.
So why eat them at all? ‘Nutrition’ is the key word with seaweeds. All of those great ocean minerals and iodine all in one incredible package. Fibre too, of both kinds, soluble and insoluble are found in goodly amounts in seaweeds
As with most things on this website, I’ll only be covering the most common, easy to find varieties with guaranteed ediblity that we’ve tested ourselves. At the present time, I’m not 1000% sure on the names of those I’ve found but will definitely put the right ones as I learn them. If you’re a pro at identifying them and spot a mistake, let us know and we’ll make the change and give you the credit.
For now, enjoy these pics of those seaweeds that we’ve harvested, cooked with and enjoyed.
We’ll keep you in the loop as we discover more about these amazing organisms, so check this page again from time to time…