A new strain of seaweed patented by Oregon State University is reportedly packed with tons of minerals and nutrients, and even tastes like bacon when fried. The translucent red algae grows naturally along the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines, and a research team has begun looking into opportunities in bringing the food to the market.
Containing up to 15% protein in dry weight, the newly discovered food is supposed to contain twice the nutritional value of kale, another recent widely hailed ‘superfood’. The OSU research team has received a grant from the Oregon Department of Agriculture to further expand on Dulse as a “speciality crop” – the first time a seaweed has ever been added to this category. The team has also begun working with a ‘culinary research chef’ on the project for the purpose of creating refined recipes and products involving the kelp, and several other chefs in the Portland area are now experimenting with cooked and fresh versions as well.
“The dulse grows using a water recirculation system,” said Chris Langdon, one of the OSU researchers behind the project. “Theoretically, you could create an industry in eastern Oregon almost as easily as you could along the coast with a bit of supplementation. You just need a modest amount of seawater and some sunshine.”
“That fact that it grows rapidly, has high nutritional value, and can be used dried or fresh certainly makes it a strong candidate,” said seafood economist Gil Sylvia, however he noted that while he believes the seaweed to have potential, he is not yet sure about its commercial opportunities. Although if Kale’s rapid surge in popularity as a health food is any indication, I’m sure this new seaweed variant will do just fine – if not better.