So, what exactly is seaweed and kelp? Seaweed and kelp are marine algae. These algae provide essential nursery habitat for fish and other marine species and play a role in providing our planet with oxygen!
Another important role they play is one of providing healthy food for people. There are many vitamins and nutrients in seaweed and kelp, most importantly calcium, potassium, magnesium and iodine and they are full of minerals, like zinc and copper. Seaweed is naturally high in antioxidants, including carotenoids, flavonoids and alkaloids which help fight free radicals. You have probably eaten seaweed already and weren’t aware of it. A gelatinous substance called agar, derived from seaweed, is used in many foods like soup thickeners, jellies, ice cream and as a substitute gelatin for vegetarians.
Seaweed and kelp grow close to shore, as most need rocks to attach themselves to and sunlight to grow. It is still harvested wild, but more sustainably, it is farm raised for commercial use. Seaweed has long. been used in fertilizer for gardens and in herbal medicines, but new uses are being found all the time. Because photosynthesis creates a large affinity for nutrients, seaweed is being used to filter undesirable nutrients from water.
At Harbor Fish Market we are no stranger to the benefits of seaweed and kelp and carry several products. Atlantic Sea Farms (formerly Ocean Approved Co.) is a Maine kelp farm and has a new line of kelp products coming out later this month. Beyond, seaweed salad, there are kelp cubes for smoothies, granola bars, seaweed snacks, and more!
Seaweed Week runs from April 26th – May 4th
Visit our retail store on April 26th, 11am-1pm for a sampling of SeaMade’s kelp granola bars! In addition, a representative from Atlantic Sea Farms will be here May 3rd, 11am-1pm, to discuss growing, processing and marketing their seaweed and kelp products…and you can try a sample or two, or three!