Ever thought about what’s in your icecream? Ever wondered if it was seaweed? Seaweed gets used in a lot of things we don’t normally think about, including biofuel, cosmetics, and various daily-use objects, but it’s also used in our food as an additive, ingredient, and additive.
Seaweed is actually a fairly popular additive to food. Carrageenan, which is the name of a polysaccharide(sugar), is extracted from algae and gels up quickly. It’s highly reactive to water, so very small amounts are needed to create a highly gelatinous substance. A substance only needs 4% carrageenan in water to make it sturdy enough to walk on! It’s used often in chocolate and regular milk to keep the substance mixed rather than separated. Most other processed foods also contain carrageenan as well in order to keep a thick consistency.
Asian cultures especially favor seaweed as an ingredient, but even the Irish have delicious recipes that call for the slimy vegetable. It’s no surprise considering the large kelp that grows around the island. The same goes for France, who dries and pickles the sea-vegetables. Seaweed and kelp tends to be used in salads, soups, and even potato dishes. The green weeds are high in vitamin A, B2, and A, as well as having potassium and magnesium. Red weed has protein, magnesium, iron, and a vitamin that is necessary for the production of vitamin A. Kelp, used in dashi–a fish stock–has iron, magnesium, and vitamin B9. All seaweeds and kelps are extremely low in fat and calories, as well as needing little to fill you up.
A more well known use for seaweed around Gojiberries.us is as a fertilizer. Seaweed is a healthy way to nourish plants and prevent the production of vitamin-starved plants. It’s important to remember that plants don’t naturally grow all of the vitamins and minerals they provide–it’s a crap-in-crap-out situation. Plants need nutrients to provide nutrients. With the use of a healthy, natural fertilizer, your plants can be twice as healthy.
Just because it may sound strange, seaweed is used almost everywhere in the course of eating and living. You’d be hard pressed to go a day without using a seaweed product. But also remember just how good it is for your body, and how little you need to help yourself.