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Sea Vegetables / Seaweed / Kelp

mendocino-marine-sea-palm-pictureThe beautiful Mendocino coast has 3 sea vegetable companies. The Mendocino Sea Vegetable Company established in 1980, The Rising Tide Sea Vegetables Company established 1981, and the Ocean Harvest Sea Vegetable Company established in 1985. These marine plants are the vegetal ancestors of all life forms on the planet today, dating back over 3 billion years. Sea vegetables considered the worlds first food, are high in trace minerals, as well as iron, calcium, iodine and vitamins, including B12, making them essential to any nutritious diet. The California Mendocino coastline rates in the top 5% of the world’s richest and most pristine waters. This is where the current and the tidal upwelling so enriches the marine flora that only a few other areas in the world can rival the richness and diversity of this very boutiful aquatic garden. Harvesting by hand and not machine harvesting is done normally at sunrise during the low tides of the new and full moon. Here is a list of the sea vegetables that are harvested here on the Mendocino coast.
  1. Mendocino Coast Kombu (Laminaria dentiqera) has firm blue-black blades and sumptuous flavor of the kelp family. Out of all the marine alga, Kombu isolates heavy metals and radioactive substances in the body for elimination and contains the amino acid Laminin which effectively combats hypertension and high blood pressure.
  2. Sweet Kombu (Hedophullum sessile) has a delicious smokey flavor and sweet taste. Great in soups and stews, squash and bean dishes.
  3. Ocean Ribbons (Lessianopsis littoralis) are nutrient rich, quick cooking, pasta thin ribbons. This grows on the outermost reaches of the rocky intertidal zone. As many as 500 blades branch off the woody trunk-like stipe of the older Lessionopsis plants. They are sweeter than most varieties of Kombu.
  4. Sea Palm (Postelsia palmaeformis) is unique and rare to our Pacific coast, growing like a miniature marine palm tree withstanding the pounding surf, growing in dense “forests” on the outer shoreline.
  5. Silky Sea Palm (Postelsia palmaeformis juvenalia) is the tender first growth fronds of the sea palm. Delicious marinated, lightly cooked or simply rehydrated in salads. Used in all styles of cooking – soups, salads and sautes. High in natural complex sugars and trace minerals.
  6. Pacific Coast Wakame (Alaria marginata) has very tender green leaves with a delicate texture and flavor. The eight to ten foot Alaria fronds resemble long scarves that dance in the strong swirling currents and lie strewn across the rocks at low tide. Alaria offers a high source of iodine and vitamins B6 and K, vitamins B2, C and minerals cobalt, radium and other trace elements.
  7. Wild Nori (Porphyra porforata) Crispy tufts, lustrous black in color. Wild nori grows primarily atop rock beds. The greenish-purple nori lends a wooly mammoth appearance to the wet rocks but dries to a crisp dark brown lacquer-like malting in the ebb tide sunlight.
  8. Mendocino Coast Fucus (bladderwrack) grows upon the rocks closer to the shore than many of the other sea vegetables. Fucus is a well known herbal remedy used to balance metabolism. Use it in soups and teas.
Seaweeds can also be classified in addition as food, but also medicine, fertilizer, industrial, and is currently under consideration as a potential source of bioethanol, and as an ingredient in some toothpaste, cosmetics and paints.
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