Seaweed as sustenance on show

What could be simpler than salty snacks sourced straight from the sea.

Asta Angleson (8) tries her hand at blanching seaweed to eat during a workshop at the New Zealand...
Asta Angleson (8) tries her hand at blanching seaweed to eat during a workshop at the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre. PHOTOS: SIMON HENDERSON

Locals were able to discover just how easy it is to prepare seaweed dishes during a recent workshop in Portobello.

New Zealand Marine Studies Centre director Sally Carson and seaweed enthusiast Izumi Schmidt Uchida took participants on a walk along the beach to identify local seaweed species.

Seaweed enthusiast Izumi Schmidt Uchida (far left) demonstrates cooking seaweed.
Seaweed enthusiast Izumi Schmidt Uchida (far left) demonstrates cooking seaweed.
The group then moved indoors at the marine studies centre to learn how seaweed could be simply blanched to use as tasty dishes, or fried to create crispy snacks.

Ms Uchida said seaweed was very versatile and New Zealand had a number of seaweed species suitable for eating.

"There are beautiful kelp species like bladder kelp and bull kelp, but my favourite is wakame, or undaria, because it is an invasive species, and I think it's OK to collect."

New Zealand Marine Studies Centre director Sally Carson (left) discusses how edible seaweed...
New Zealand Marine Studies Centre director Sally Carson (left) discusses how edible seaweed flakes can be added to dishes.
Seaweed was able to be prepared ready for eating very simply.

"The basics is just to blanche it in hot water, only for about 10 seconds or so, then it's going to change colour and now you're ready to use it for salad and other things."

Ms Uchida said Maori had long understood the benefits of the aquatic plants.

From the beach to your home, seaweed can be a tasty addition to meals.
From the beach to your home, seaweed can be a tasty addition to meals.
"Maori people particularly understand and have a very strong connection to the seafood and they know the seasons and the use of it for each different species.

"I believe karengo is one of the most important species and they're known to have big protein content, so they are very nutritious and yummy."

The workshop was part of the Wild Dunedin New Zealand Festival of Nature, which offered locals more than a hundred events on offer during the week-long festival.

simon.henderson@thestar.co.nz

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