Cooked Seaweed Tastes Like Bacon?
Bacon and bacon flavor are hugely popular, yet some people avoid it or severely limit how much they eat for health and other reasons. Good news is that soon, everyone who loves the taste of bacon may be able to satisfy their craving with cooked seaweed rather than a pig.
Bacon may have its fans, but it also has its faults. Even though the dire warnings about saturated fat and cardiovascular disease have softened somewhat recently (and not all experts agree with it), bacon still packs a serious health punch.
One ounce of pork bacon broiled, fried, or roasted contains about 151 calories, most of which are from fat. The 12 grams of total fat, 647 milligrams of sodium, and 31 mg of cholesterol make this one food that should be consumed in small amounts, if at all.
For anyone who avoids meat products (vegetarians and vegans) and pork products in particular (according to Jewish and Islamic dietary laws), the introduction of a seaweed that tastes like bacon could open a new culinary opportunity.
About seaweed that tastes like bacon
The new seaweed is the brainchild of researcher Chris Langdon and his colleagues at Oregon State University (OSU), who created and patented a new strain of dulse (Palmaria sp). This red seaweed is indigenous to the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and is often used in dried form for cooking or nutritional supplements.
Langdon has been growing the new strain (Palmaria mollis) in cold seawater tanks at OSU for 15 years. Among the benefits of P. mollis, which resembles translucent red lettuce, are its high levels of protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
It also grows rapidly and provides twice the nutritional value of kale, according to Chuck Toombs, a faculty member of OSU’s College of Business. Toombs is working with a development team at OSU’s Food Innovation Center to bring new dulse foods to market.
Langdon has called the new seaweed “amazing” and explained that “When you fry it, which I have done, it tastes like bacon, not seaweed. And it’s a pretty strong bacon flavor.” The fried seaweed also reportedly looks similar to bacon.
Even though having a seaweed that tastes like bacon is a cool idea, there could be more unique foods coming from this new seaweed strain. That’s because the researchers received a grant from the Oregon Department of Agriculture to work with dulse as a specialty crop.
Currently a Food Innovation Center team is creating dulse products with the assistance of research chef, Jason Ball, who once worked with the University of Copenhagen’s Nordic Food Lab. Ball created more than a dozen dulse products and after testing them with the public, has selected five for further testing: dulse rice crackers, salad dressing, sesame seed chips, smoked dulse popcorn peanut brittle, and trail mix.
Are you ready for seaweed that tastes like bacon and other unique nutritious food made from dulse? I, for one, am looking forward to trying them!