A CONSUMER’S GUIDE TO
SHOPPING, COOKING & EATING “GREEN” GLOSSARY
(Aga , Kanten) Derived from red seaweed, this natural thickener is mainly used as a gelling agent in desserts, puddings, pie fillings, and aspics. Agar agar is a vegan alternative to animal-derived gelatin. It acts as a mild laxative, adding bulk without the calories. Use agar agar to replace gelatin as well as eggs and other thickening agents in baking. Add 2 T. of agar agar flakes per cup of simmering liquid to be gelled. If liquid contains citrus, add 3 T. Stir occasionally, until agar agar has dissolved. Allow about 1 hour gelling time at room temperature or 35 minutes in the refrigerator.
Health Benefits: Agar agar is a fine source of iodine, calcium, iron, phosphorus and vitamins.
Alaria is very similar to the Japanese wakame. It is the perfect sea vegetable for soups and is delicious raw in salads, either pre-soaked or marinated. Cooking alaria for at least 20 minutes brings out its sweet mild taste and soft, chewy texture. Remove the fibrous central rib before eating. Dried or baked alaria may be added to soups or used as garnish.
Health Benefits: Alaria is comparable to whole sesame seeds in calcium content. Its vitamin A content is very high, comparable to spinach, parsley or turnip greens. Alaria is rich in iodine and bromine and is packed with B vitamins, especially B2, B6 and B12.
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Usually found in long, thin string-like strands, this seaweed looks like hijiki, but has a mild, sweet taste. Arame is an excellent sea vegetable for those unfamiliar with the distinctive flavor of seaweeds.
To cook, soak for 5 minutes and then simmer for about 10 minutes. Sauté alone or blend with land vegetables, such as green onions and yams. Arame is good in salads, stir-fries, with rice and vegetables, or in a vinaigrette. Its light taste also blends well with tofu. Sea palm is a type of arame that resembles noodles. These fronds are good raw, sauteed or used in soups or salads.
Health Benefits: Arame is highly concentrated in iron, calcium and potassium, and is one of the richest sources of iodine. It is also a good source of protein. Along with kombu, kelp, and hijiki, arame is known for its ability to counteract high blood-pressure.
Dulse is delicious as a raw snack with its distinctive, strong sea flavor as well as its rich taste and salty, spicy flair. It is great in soups, stews, chowders, salads and sandwiches. It goes very well with corn and potatoes. Dulse is a favorite with children and first-time eaters of sea vegetables. Pan fry dulse into tangy chips or bake them with melted cheese. Although dulse doesn’t require cooking, it only takes 5 minutes to cook and the flavor will mellow. Dulse is great sprinkled over grain dishes and it combines well with onions.
Health Benefits: Dulse is approximately 22% protein, higher than chickpeas (garbanzo beans), almonds or whole sesame seeds. A handful (about 30g) offers more than 100% RDA of vitamin B6, iron and fluoride, as well as 66% RDA of vitamin B12. Dulse is relatively low in sodium, yet quite high in potassium, phosphorus, manganese, and iodine as well as vitamin A. Dulse is also a highly alkaline vegetable.
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(Hijicki, Hizicki) This elegant strong- tasting seaweed is particularly good with onions and tofu as well as carrots and other root vegetables. It may also be added to stir-fries and noodle dishes. Hijiki sweetens considerably when cooked. To cook, first rinse and soak for 20 minutes. Then, rinse again before simmering for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Try dressing with cider vinegar, tamari and roasted sesame oil. For a cold salad, combine with tamari, sunflower seeds, cooked onions, celery and carrots.
Health Benefits: Of all the sea vegetables, hijiki is the richest in minerals and it has an abundance of trace elements. It is extremely high in calcium (gram for gram, about 14 times more than milk). In addition, hijiki is rich in iron as well as protein.
(Carrageen) The thickening agent used in food products from cottage cheese to salad dressing, carrageen, comes from this seaweed. Carrageen is rich in minerals, especially iodine, and contains a good supply of vitamin A.
Kelp is similar to Japanese kombu and is considered an all-around sea vegetable. With its natural glutamic acid, kelp cooks quickly and dissolves after about 20 minutes of simmering. Kelp may be roasted, pan-fried, pickled, marinated, boiled, etc. Kelp is often sold in a powdered form and is a flavorful seasoning that is a great mineral-rich salt alternative. Members of the kelp family include arame, kombu, Pacific Coast ocean ribbons and Wakame.
Health Benefits: Kelp is exceptionally high in major minerals, particularly calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. It is also rich in trace minerals, including manganese, copper, and zinc. One ounce of kelp provides the RDA of chromium, which helps regulate blood sugar. Once ounce also supplies the body with plenty of iodine, essential for thyroid functioning.