Maine Coast Sea Vegetables Wild Atlantic Kombu Kelp - 2 oz. (56g)
Maine Coast Sea Vegetables Wild Atlantic Kombu Kelp grows in dense, shallow beds in the quiet waters of secluded bays. In Maine it is harvested during the low tides of the full and new moons between April and August. Like the other native seaweeds Alaria and Laver, each frond is hung individually to dry in the sun.
- Similar to Japanese Kombu
- Delicious as is, soaked, simmered, sauteed, roasted, pan fried, or marinated
- Low temperature dried, enzyme active
- Contains a natural substance that enhances flavor and tenderizes other proteins
- Tested for chemical, heavy metal, fuel oil, and bacteriological pollution
- Meets all OCIA Organic Standards for sustainable harvesting and handling
Versatile for Cooking
Their Kelp is a thinner, more tender variety of Japanese Kombu and can be used exactly the same way — in soup stocks, pan-fried for chips or stir-fried. It's great roasted, fried, pickled, boiled, sautéed and marinated. Kelp is a must for all soup stocks, enriching flavor and nutrition. You should never cook beans without it, as it tenderizes, shortens cooking times and increases digestibility.
Kelp is Rich in Nutrients
Kelp is a rich source for minerals and trace elements, including calcium, potassium and magnesium and it offers substantial amounts of some of the B vitamins. Scientists have found that alginic acid, an important intercellular polysaccharide found in large brown algae like Kelp, can significantly reduce the amount of radioactive strontium-90 and heavy metals such as cadmium absorbed through the intestinal wall.
Kelp contains Mannitol, a natural sugar molecule that gives it a slight sweetness and glutamic acid, the amino acid that tenderizes beans and makes them more digestible. The glutamic acid in Kelp also creates the "fifth taste" called umami.; Umami is a Japanese word derived from umai — "delicious" and mi - "essence." It was discovered by Dr. Kikunae Ikeda in 1908 after extracting the glutamic acid from a bowl of dashi broth that contained Kelp. In English, it is most often referred to as savory. Kelp is one of the best vegetable sources of umami!The HarvestWild Harvested Seaweeds from Downeast Maine
Maine Coast Sea Vegetables is located at the very head of Frenchman's Bay. Their certified organic sea veggies are hand harvested from the rocky, sparsely populated "Downeast" coastal area between Bar Harbor and Eastport. The Harvest begins in early April, with snow pack often still on the ground and the shallow coastal inlets still frozen. The low tides of October bring them their last dulse — if they're lucky! All plants are wild and most are certified organic.
Organic Certification Means Higher Quality
You may wonder why they went to the trouble and expense to become certified organic by Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA), particularly as they already test their dried seaweeds for the absence of heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, and microbiological contaminants. It's true that compared to land plants, They have little control over the growing conditions of their wild marine plants. But they do have choices about how, when, where, and how much they harvest, as well as how the seaweed are transported, dried, stored and packaged.
The Organic Standards developed by OCIA address all these areas where unacceptable practices may lead to resource depletion, product contamination, or inferior quality. These standards give clear and uniform direction to all of them (more than 40 now) responsible for harvesting and handling these precious plants. They feel this results in a higher quality as well as a cleaner product for you.
Harvesting a Superior Product
Bringing sea veggies from the sea to your plate requires many hands. Perhaps none are more important than the harvesters who select the wild plants from the beds where they grow in remote Downeast bays between Bar Harbor and Eastport. The kelp harvesters are the first to get their boats in the water and don their wetsuits or hipboots in early April. When it isn't clear enough to sun dry these prime plants, indoor drying with wood heat or forced hot air are used.
Since 1993 all this harvesting, hauling and storing had been accomplished following the world's first organic certification standards for sea vegetables. This means that each harvester must monitor their beds for sustainability. They must keep their freshly picked plants clear of possible contaminants throughout the harvest transport, drying and packing process. They are randomly inspected to insure compliance. They also test plants for contaminants that are water born, such as heavy metals, PCBs, herbicides, pesticides, E. coli, yeasts and molds.
Maine Coast Sea Vegetables Questions & Answers
What are Sea vegetables?
Sea vegetables are wild ocean plants, or marine algae, enjoyed daily as staple and healing foods in many coastal parts of the world. Small amounts of sea veggies add a rich flavor and enhance the nutritional value of most dishes. These exceptionally vital plants inhabit the fertile, energetic region where ocean meets land; from the very exposed high tide mark to the constantly immersed bottom just below low tide. They inhabit all the world's oceans.
While there are many species of sea veggies, only a modest number have a history as human food. Sea vegetables are categorized by color group: red (6,000 species), brown (2,000 species), and green (1,200 species.) Popular American sea vegetables are Dulse, Kelp, Alaria, Laver, from the east coast, and Sea Palm from the west coast. Asian varieties include Nori, Hiziki, Arame, Kombu and Wakame. They provide Dulse, Kelp, Digitata, Alaria , Laver, Sushi Nori, Irish Moss, Sea Lettuce, Rockweed, and Bladderwrack.
Where and how do you harvest?
Most of their sea vegetables grow and are sustainably hand harvested locally from downeast Maine across the Bay of Fundy to Nova Scotia. These areas of the Gulf of Maine are exceptionally clean and are considerable distances from the major rivers and population sources that might pose a threat to water purity. Experienced harvesters in small boats or on rocky beaches mindfully hand-gather the sea vegetables from their beds at low tide. They then carefully transport the sea veggies to drying facilities where they are either sun-dried or low temperature air-dried. They are graded for quality and then stored to await final packaging. The harvest is monitored for possible herbicide, pesticide, heavy metal, and bacteriological contamination, and the entire process conforms to OCIA organic certification rules and standards.
Why should I eat sea vegetables? How are they good for me?
Sea vegetables are rich in minerals and trace elements, including calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, iodine, manganese, chromium and more, at levels much greater than those found in land vegetables. Sea veggies also provide vitamins, fiber, enzymes, and high quality protein. Marine phytochemicals found only in sea vegetables have been shown to absorb and eliminate radioactive elements and heavy metal contaminants from our bodies. Other recent research demonstrates the inhibition of tumor formation, reduction of cholesterol, and anti-viral properties of sea vegetables.
How do I include sea vegetables in my diet — is it difficult?
It's really quite convenient. Simply add small amounts of cut, bite sized pieces to your favorite soups, salads, sandwiches and stir-fries. Each Maine Coast package comes with instructions and recipe suggestions. Sea vegetables' strong taste and odor surprise some people. Remember that dried sea vegetables are a highly vital wild food and provide highly concentrated nutrition — a little goes a long way, and most easy Maine Coast recipes use less than one quarter ounce per serving! Sea vegetables are sometimes rinsed or soaked in fresh water before use, but often this is unnecessary. Dulse, for instance, is eaten right out of the bag as a healthy, "salty" snack. They suggest eating a variety of sea vegetables for maximum nutrition and taste.
Where and how do they harvest sea vegetables?
They sustainably harvest native sea vegetables locally from the clear, cold northern Gulf of Maine waters. Experienced harvesters carefully hand gather the sea vegetables from their pristine beds at the peak of nutrition. They are then sun-dried or low temperature air-dried, graded for quality, and monitored for possible herbicide, pesticide, heavy metal, and bacteriological contamination. This is all part of the organic certification process following OCIA Standards for harvesting and handling wild sea vegetables.
How do I store my sea veggies?
Sea veggies, dried vegetables rich in mineral salts, keep well unless subjected to a lot of moisture, heat and/or direct light. They have a shelf life at least 2 years at room temperature in tightly sealed container out of direct light. Recommended storage containers are their re-sealable bags or, for bulk amounts, glass jars with screw top lids. It is not a good idea to rinse sea veggies and store unless you're going to use in 24-48 hrs or refrigerate.
If sea veggies are stored in conditions of excessive moisture or heat, mold or deterioration may occur which is readily visible as discoloration or smell-able as mushrooms or seafood past their prime. Sea veggies also readily absorb odors, so keep them in a tightly sealed container. Sometimes as plants dry out a whitish powder will appear; this powder consists of precipitated salts and sugars and is safe to eat. You can rinse or use as is. If your sea veggies dry out, you can rehydrate by putting a piece of lettuce, slice of apple or damp paper towel in the bag and leaving it for a day or two. If kelp or alaria becomes brittle, just lightly sprinkle or soak until rehydrated to your taste. Direct light will bleach the plants over time. This probably has some effect on nutritional quality, although they have done no studies. If a visual inspection doesn't indicate any problems, the product should be fine to use safely.
To Rinse or Not to Rinse?
Their sea vegetables are sometimes rinsed or soaked in fresh water before use, but often this is unnecessary. Dulse, for instance, is eaten right out of the bag as a healthy, "salty" snack. Kelp is often lightly soaked and rehydrated (it expands!) so it can be cut into attractive shapes and sizes. In any case, a light rinse before use lessens sea vegetables' salty taste. You will lose some sodium and potassium salts, but very little if any calcium, iron, magnesium, etc. You can save the rinse water for cooking.
You may want to inspect the plants for tiny shells (periwinkles) before use. They do their best but sometimes they hide in the folds. Simply dip the plants in water long enough to unfold them and release any shells.
What about the strong aroma?
Dulse does indeed have a relatively strong odor. With a lot of it around, if it is a smell that you are sensitive to or not used to, it might be a little unpleasant. One reason that it smells so strong is that it's a highly concentrated, dehydrated food. As long is there is no mold or other signs or smells of deterioration (caused by being stored too damp and/or warm) the product is fine to eat. Storing in a tightly sealed glass or plastic jar will help keep the odor from permeating the kitchen or pantry.
What about the whitish surface powder?
Don't worry about the white powdery substance on the surface of stored plants! Sometimes as these plants dry out a whitish powder will appear; this powder consists of precipitated salts and sugars and is safe to eat — you can rinse or use as is. In kelp, the principle sugar is mannitol and the salts are predominantly potassium and sodium. Mannitol is much less "sweet" than fructose, sucrose, glucose or pentose, and even less sweet than complex sugars found in brown rice syrup, yet it still adds a subtle flavor quality. This, along with the high mineral component and the naturally occurring glutamic acid is why kelp makes beans taste so great, cook so quickly and digest so easily.
This whitish powder also appears on dulse sometimes, but not as often. It seems harder to manage the osmotic process in the brown sea weeds (kelp and alaria) than the reds (dulse and laver), perhaps because the brown sea veggies are thicker. While they are more skilled than ever at handling all their sea veggies from harvest to packaging, sea veggies are not processed to the point of total control. This is actually one of their unique selling points: minimally processed whole foods, enzymes intact.
What about Sea Veggies as Raw Foods?
Sea Veggies can contribute a lot to a raw/living foods diet: minerals, enzymes, vitamins, protein, healing fiber, and marine phytochemicals. All Maine Coast sea vegetables except toasted sushi nori sheets and nori flakes are dried under low temp conditions (less than 105°F). Dulse is their most popular vegetable for raw fooders — it is succulent and sort of melts right in your mouth. It is easily cut into salads, added to cold soups, and in the flake, granule, or powder form is easily blended in drinks. All of their Sea Veggies can be eaten uncooked, right out of the bag but are quite chewy and really call for soaking or marinating in vinegar or citrus juice. To their best knowledge, the Japanese sea vegetables arame, hijiki, and wakame are all processed with heat above 105° F. In fact the arame and hijiki are often boiled or blanched. If you are new to sea veggies, they suggest you start out with the small reclosable bags.
How do I use Sea Veggies for Healthy Skin and Hair?
In many Asian nations, beautiful healthy hair and skin and nails are attributed to the regular use of sea veggies in food, soap and shampoo. Exactly how seaweed works on skin and hair is still under investigation, but it is thought that a combination of factors such as the abundance of organic colloidal minerals, particularly calcium, silica, iron and phosphorous; the emulsifying alginates (fibrous material) that cleanse surface toxins, emulsify oils and de-acidify; and the abundance of iodine, amino acids, active enzymes, beta carotenes, B-vitamins, etc.
What about sea vegetables as Animal Food?
Most domesticated animals are far from their original diets and need broad-based mineral support just as we do. They may also benefit from this sea vegetable source of chelated, colloidal trace elements as opposed to the inorganic mineral salts that leave a free metal ion in the digestive tract. They receive numerous reports from customers who have successfully fed their sea vegetables to their dogs, cats, fish, hamsters, iguanas, etc. Dog and cat owners claim not only healthier animals but also healthier, fuller coats.
Milled kelp (kelp "meal") has been fed to cattle, sheep, chickens, and other barnyard animals for decades.
What about sea vegetables as Plant Food?
Sea vegetables have been used worldwide as a source of nourishment for plants by coastal people for centuries. Besides contributing a broad spectrum of abundant minerals, the brown varieties such as kelp and rockweed provide cytokinen, a natural growth accelerator that also increases flowering, intensifies color, and may increase total yield.
In the garden, till in fresh seaweed, mulch with it, or compost it with a good carbon source like grass clippings or hay. For sickly plants or houseplants make "kelp tea" by steeping some dried kelp overnight in enough water to cover and pouring the brown brew on the roots or spray the leaves. They sell small amounts of dry seaweed not suitable for human consumption but excellent for composting or tilling in the soil.
About Maine Coast Sea VegetablesMission Statement:
To provide high quality North American sea vegetables as user-friendly foods, supported by reliable information; and to build respectful, long-term relationships with their customers, suppliers, employees and the environment.
Their company was born in 1971 over a pot of seaweed miso soup in the kitchen of Linnette and Shep Erhart overlooking Hog Bay in Franklin. They had just harvested and cooked their first alaria fronds and found the soup delicious! News of the discovery spread to friends; they told their friends, etc. From two people producing 200 pounds in 1971, there are now about 40 of them handling around 100,000 pounds of sea vegetables annually. Another 15 year-round crew sort, pack, and market their sea veggies at their plant in Franklin, Maine. They offer seven organically certified varieties: alaria, dulse, kelp, laver, sea lettuce, rockweed and bladderwrack. They are hand harvested directly from their beds at low tides, dried at low temperatures by sun, wood or forced hot air, and then packaged.
To the best of their individual and collective abilities, they pursue their mission with honesty, accountability, patience and care.They understand that these gifts from the sea come with the responsibility to maintain sustainable practices in harvesting, processing and merchandising — leaving more than they harvest, producing more than they consume, and giving back more than they take. With their enthusiasm, they encourage the rediscovery of this ancient food source from the sea. With their personal and traditional knowledge, they share what they have learned from their native sea vegetables and from people worldwide who have used them for centuries. With their curiosity, they learn from their customers what they already know or need to know. And with their ingenuity and respect, they intend to thrive into the 21st century.