How to harvest, prepare and eat Northwest kelp leaves - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 03-15-2011
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Thumbs up How to harvest, prepare and eat Northwest kelp leaves

I first published this method in the 48 North sail magazine about two years ago. My Korean girlfriend always begged me to bring home fresh kelp leaves.

Pacific Northwest Bull Kelp leaves are delicious if you know how to prepare! From the floating bulb the leaves that trail off on the current grow very fast in the summer and are tender and delicious. It is legal to harvest with a shellfish/seaweed gathering permit. Does not kill the plant. Approach the kelp stand in your dink with a bucket, boat hook and long sharp knife. Pull the floating leaves close to your gunnel with the boat hook, cut off the leaves of the rooted plant leaving the first 24 inches from the bulb intact for future growth. The remaining leaves are 4 to 6 feet long. Sever and discard the oldest part of the leaves which get chewed up and tough as they age.

Take your bucket of leaves in the galley and cut into manageable 4 to 6 inch sections with scissors. Boil a half gallon of water for the blanching process. Dip the sections very briefly using tongs. Two things happen immediately - the color changes from dark green to an appetizing light green as the brown algae cells die, and all the slime coating vanishes. No further cooking needed. The vegetable that is left gives a satisfying squeak on the teeth and is tender. Very healthy and good for the digestion.

Ideas for eating -

Place a small ball of rice and a piece of smoked salmon or other seafood in the middle of a kelp leaf section. Roll it up, dip in soy sauce and pop in your mouth like sushi. This is addictive!

Chop into small strips and serve with soy sauce or seasoned rice vinegar. Garnish with a pinch of toasted sesame seeds. A small salad like this is five bucks in a sushi joint.

Add to ramen or asian noodle dishes.

The blanched leaves last a week in the fridge or, if seasoned rice vinegar is added to the container, they become mildly pickled and last a month or more, retaining a nice mild flavor. Can also be frozen.

If you have the time and patience the blanched leaves can be hung on a thin monofilament line in the sun and will dry to a thin papery texture that keeps well and will instantly reconstitute in hot water.

Please post any additional seaweed recipe ideas you have.
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Old 03-16-2011
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That is a great idea. Something innate wondered about and now I know how.

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Jake
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Old 03-16-2011
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Thanks for the info. We'll be trying it soon.
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Old 03-16-2011
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Find the right sized bulb and length of shoot, and, with a knife in hand, craft a beer bong. Don't remember how I remember this.
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Old 03-16-2011
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Anyone know off-hand what the nutritional content is? My wife is a stickler for that kind of info
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Old 03-16-2011
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Originally Posted by BentSailor View Post
Anyone know off-hand what the nutritional content is? My wife is a stickler for that kind of info
It looks like kelp has a variety of vitamins, although, none are more than a couple of percent of your daily recommended amount in a 10g serving. Not surprisingly, the sodium content is notable.

Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Seaweed, kelp, raw
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Old 03-16-2011
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Stupid question, but are there any health hazards to be aware of? Such as, "Don't gather kelp in Region X due to toxic algal blooms" or anything of that nature?
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Old 03-16-2011
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Safety and nutrition

Some good questions. Instinctively I feel that anywhere open to seafood gathering should be safe for eating kelp. The blanching process clears off surface slime and that chould clear any algae bloom residue that was clinging to the leaves. Summer leaves grow up to a foot each day, not much time to absorb undesirable elements.

If you are lucky you might encounter fresh fish eggs on the leaves, this is one of the most highly desired types of sushi.

Alginate is one of the main ingredients in kelp, you may have heard of this being harvested and used as a thickener in ice cream and other popular foods. It is a soluble fiber and is a very good digestive aid especially if you have any fast or slow bowel function issues. Also seaweeds are rich in iodine. Does not taste salty to me, not sure about sodium content. Sun dried seaweeds more likely to have sodium.

By the way, kelp leaves are too fragile for cooking, it will break them down quickly so add them to soups last before serving.
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Old 03-16-2011
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We eat the stuff all the time. One of our favourites is stuffing the seaweed inside a tofu pocket with rice. Even better with a BBQ prawn or a piece of sashimi.

I confess this is all courtesy of our local Sushi Bar. Never have collected and cooked seaweed myself. I should and will next time we are anchored in a less populated port than Sydney.
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Thanks for answering the health questions.
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