Tag: palmaria palmata

Baba Ghanoush with Dulse Seaweed

Baba Ghanoush with Dulse Seaweed

I’ve been using seaweeds in and as food for long enough now.  I’ve got into the the swing of which seaweeds to match with what recipe and amounts to use. Dulse (Palmaria palmata) with potatoes is traditional, in bread feels natural and, I feel, has…

Fresh and Easy Seaweed Bread for Picnics

Fresh and Easy Seaweed Bread for Picnics

(Organic flour, gutweed (Ulva intestinalis) and dulse (Palmaria palmata)) Picnics, according to BBC food, require planning; as much as I agree that some planning is needed, I also want it all – good homemade food and little fuss. With our erratic UK weather, sometimes an…

Drying Dulse Seaweed at Home

Drying Dulse Seaweed at Home

Palmata palmaria

I have a little secret, although I don the appearance of a forager, at heart, I’m an artist, an optimistic awed by the natural world kind-of-one. As an artist, seaweed does it for me. I can spend hours looking in a rock pool at the beautiful colours and textures, how the water moves the weeds and the play of light on the water.

As an artist playing at being a forager (albeit teaching foraging for 12 years and writing books about it), being able to harvest and eat these works of art is an added bonus. Last week was the first good spring tide of the year, which was a wonderful opportunity to hand pick a few seaweeds for personal use. Dulse (Palmaria palmata) is one of my favourite snacks when I’m working at home, it’s nutritious, salty and tasty. There’s lots I could tell you about it, and indeed I do in my seaweed book, and on my seaweed courses.

How and why to dry seaweeds

Traditionally, seaweeds are dried to preserve them. I like to taste dulse fresh on the beach, though if I’m picking more than a few fronds I dry them at home. There are many ways to dry seaweeds, which I discuss on my courses and in my book, though my preferred way is; naturally. Energy is a big topic these days. This is a great way to reduce and be efficient with our energy consumption in order to respect and take care of our one and precious earth by using the natural energy of the sun.

So, I dry dulse over clothes racks and on tea towels in my sunny, warm kitchen. It only takes a day (or two if it’s cooler).

Palmata palmaria

This morning, as I descended into my kitchen and opened the curtains I entered another artist’s heaven.

I loved how the light played on this beautiful red seaweed as it was drying on tea towels. Every stage of seaweeds I love. The carefully harvesting of them (just enough and only half of each dulse plant), rinsing and patting them dry, laying them out on tea towels and hanging them on clothes racks. Watching them shrink and dry, checking there’s no damp clumps. Then storing them in clean jars for snacks or to incorporate into potato dishes, quiche, dukka, and chapatis, recipes which you can see in my seaweed book. I also have a blog for a more-ish Dulse Soda Bread (gluten-free) which comes with several recommendations, whether or not you’re gluten-free.

Palmata palmaria  Palmata palmaria

Palmata palmaria  Palmata palmaria

Tips for drying seaweeds at home

  • If you can, dry them naturally in a warm room or airing cupboard
  • First rinse and pat dry the seaweeds, removing as much liquid as you can. You can also use a salad spinner for this
  • For small seaweeds, lay them out over tea towels with enough space around them to let them breathe
  • For larger seaweeds hang over clothes racks
  • Check the seaweeds regularly to make sure no wet clumps are forming
  • Once dried, store in clean jars, open bowls or containers
The Seaweed Forager – A Podcast with Rachel Lambert

The Seaweed Forager – A Podcast with Rachel Lambert

Karen Pirie, a Cornwall based podcaster recently joined me on a seaweed foraging course to record a podcast for her new venture; Cornwall Woman. I’ve known Karen for a few years and find her easy company. She travelled with me to meet our group of keen…

Tasty Dulse Seaweed Soda Bread (Gluten-free)

Tasty Dulse Seaweed Soda Bread (Gluten-free)

This recipe for Dulse Seaweed Soda Bread is delicious and was more popular than the normal, wheat-based bread I baked for a seaweed foraging course, so I thought I’d share it with you here. The basis of this recipe came from my sister (the gluten-free…

2 Billion Old Seaweed and Still Tasty!

2 Billion Old Seaweed and Still Tasty!

I’m standing on a rock at low tide, layers of organic matter below my feet, formed over billions of years. Beyond me is the great ocean herself, perhaps where we all came from and marking a time before our migration, along with (now) terrestrial plants, onto land.

Around me swells the seawater, not so different from the water contained in each of my body’s cells. Somehow my sense of time, body and what I am made of is changing; I feel both young and old, connected and in wonder at my ancestry of rock, sea water and seaweeds.

Yes seaweeds, also so much older than this human form of yours and mine.  Red seaweeds (that’s another discussion of what constitutes a red seaweed, which I’m happy to have, another time) are thought to be the oldest of them all. Somewhere between 1.6 and 2 billion years old. Their structure, reproduction and variety are fascinating, though what interests me the most is their flavour.

And on the topic of seaweed flavour, I have an unanswered question.

Actually I have many, and a sketchbook of seaweed notes still to decipher. Though for now, I have one, little question:

 

How come the Red Seaweeds have the most Interesting, Multi-layered and Tantalizing Flavour?

 

(Baked Oysters, Pepper Dulse Seaweed and Lemon Butter – from my Seaweed Foraging Book)

I could speculate that the answer is because of red seaweed’s structure, their both basic and complex form, and a form that comes with age. Though when I asked some of the UK’s best seaweed experts (people who have taught me and whom I deeply respect) they just shrugged their shoulders and answered ‘I don’t know’.

Despite their age and importance there is still so much we don’t know about seaweeds, and that in some ways, is part of their wonder. An unknown, underwater world that, here in the British Isles, reveals itself just twice a day to us.

I love standing by the water’s edge, on the boundary of this unknown world, there is still so much to learn and already so much to share.

On the theme of red seaweeds (there are also hundreds of species of green and brown ones to enjoy), their complex flavour means they are both compatible with a wide range of foods from quiche to lemony dressings, and also bring out ‘umami’, a flavour which heightens all other flavours. Simple things like bread, rice and potatoes become something inspired with a little bit of seaweed added.

Taste, colour, flavour and texture all make up the components of food that is an enjoyable part of our human experience, and that’s without mentioning the vast nutritional benefits of seaweeds. Of course, the amounts you use and the combinations you create all constitute how enjoyable seaweeds are, and those details are important.

 

Here’s more information on seaweed foraging courses and here’s a link to the calendar dates for seaweed foraging courses to puruse, or book. Each beach has a different range of seaweeds and each season offers something different too.