By Lesley Jacobs Solmonson
Dozens of edible varieties of seaweed—the broad term for 10,000-plus types of marine plants and algae—are high in minerals, fiber, antioxidants and sometimes protein.
Plus, seaweed is self-propagating and sucks up excess carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorus from the ocean. This means health-conscious enviros can feel good about savoring its unique flavor in drinks, snacks, seasonings and even spirits.
The briny, vegetal flavor of Oakland Spirits Company's OsCo Automatic Sea Gin stems from local ingredients foraged in the San Francisco Bay Area. Every week, OsCo distillers purchase five pounds of sustainably harvested and sun-dried nori from farmers in nearby Mendocino County and blend it with coastal bay leaves, sage and lemongrass. Then, a small-batch grape distillation process lends this umami spirit a soft, velvety mouthfeel. $30 to $35 for 750 ml, oaklandspirits.com
Cup of Sea founder Josh Rogers credits his grandparents—who snacked on dried dulse, a reddish-purple alga—with inspiring his loose-leaf Maine Seaweed Teas. $12 for 1.5 oz, cupofsea.me
AKUA works with organizations that train out-of-work fishers to farm the ocean. Its Kelp Jerky is an organic, high-protein snack made from kelp, mushrooms and spices. $4 for 1.5 oz, akua.co
Emerald Cove harvests six types of seaweed to create Instant Pacific Sea Salad, a dehydrated blend that lends flair to soups, salads and fries. About $7 for .75 oz, great-eastern-sun.com
The sea even holds an answer for sweet tooths—Coconut & Chocolate Seaweed Strips from Ocean's Halo may be the world's healthiest "candy." About $4 a pouch, oceanshalo.com
Sea Seasonings Dulse Granules from Maine Coast Sea Vegetables offer a nutritious, low-sodium salt alternative that can be sprinkled on almost any meal. $4.15 a shaker, seaveg.com
Reposted with permission from our media associate SIERRA Magazine.