Ribbon Kelp: The Future of Sustainable Ocean Farming and Sustainable Eating.
While our normal content centers around the benefits of wild-caught vs. farmed seafood, we want to take a second to introduce you to a new kind of ocean farming.
Seaweed has been a staple in Eastern diets for centuries. But aside from your typical sushi applications, did you know that sea kelp is a fantastic superfood that you can use in more than just sushi?
Let's get to know sea kelp together and discover all the culinary possibilities with this delicious ocean plant!
What is Kelp:
The fact that edible plants grow under the water in our world's ocean is mind-boggling. Research scientists are at the precipice of an untapped underwater resource that is not only delicious and nutritious but growing more of it is better for the environment! And now it's available to you no matter where in the world you live!
There are over 30 different varieties of sea kelp growing right now in our world's oceans. Ribbon kelp grows in underwater farms out in the cool Pacific waters off the coast of Alaska. Giant kelp has a whole host of nutritional benefits for you with the bonus of being a sustainably grown and harvested food product that improves our world's oceans.
Sea kelp grows in underwater forests that serve as a food source and a home ecosystem for a variety of creatures. Sea kelp grows quickly and densely, creating underwater hiding places for prey animals and a vital food source for some endangered species.
Kelp seaweed farmers grow this nutrient-dense superfood in its native environment, making it available when most needed. The rough summer currents off the coast of Alaska destroy most sea kelp forests anyway, making harvesting it for human consumption a non-issue for these seasonal underwater forests.
Ribbon Kelp is one variety of sea kelp that grows into 10 foot long and 1-foot-wide kelp noodles. These kelp noodles can be used as a delicious pasta alternative or in various other culinary recipes.
The Science Behind Ribbon Kelp Farming:
Ocean Biologists are discovering the net positive benefits of bringing more ocean plants to your dinner table. Growing, harvesting, and regrowing ocean kelp provides our customers with a delicious alternative to bland salad greens while doing the much-needed work of reducing the effects of climate change on our world's oceans.
Using researched-backed farming practices, they provide you with kelp nutrition while at the same time supporting the native Alaskan waters with an environmentally net-positive seaweed that helps to combat climate change.
Ribbon kelp is a wild sea plant that grows in cold temperate seas in the Pacific Ocean. The seaweed kelp anchors itself to the ocean floor by a small root system called a holdfast. After harvesting, the holdfast and some of the stem remain to regrow a new plant the following season.
Our farmers grow ribbon kelp from native seeds on their offshore farms. Once the plants mature enough to withstand ocean currents, the kelp is returned to their native waters to grow. The kelp greenling and other sea creatures use these kelp farms as a natural food source and habitat during the winter and spring until they move on to their summer habitats.
Sea kelp benefits the ocean life cycle while at the same time giving you access to a new and delicious food source.
Climate change and the warming ocean temperatures are impacting our oceans in ways we can't yet fully understand. The environmental impact of kelp farming is vital to the future of combating climate change. As a zero-input crop, there is no need for pesticides, fertilizers, or even freshwater, unlike other crops and leafy greens grown on land.
Why is Kelp Food is Better for the Environment?
In addition to being a source of food and shelter for cute little ocean creatures, kelp helps absorb C02 from the atmosphere, leading to a decrease in greenhouse gases. Researching and implementing sustainable growing practices provides continued help for what eats kelp, including sea urchins!
See, it's a good thing for your body and the ocean for you to eat more sea kelp!
So how is kelp so good for you?
Superfood: The Health Benefits of Kelp
Superfoods were all the rage a few years back, but what does it mean for something to be a superfood?
The distilled down definition of a superfood is a food that provides you with an extraordinary amount of nutrients, both macro, and micronutrients. Most superfoods come in powdered or pill form, but one great thing about a kelp supplement is that it's edible in its raw form and has so many options for preparing that you'll never grow bored of it!
Kelp is one of the highest natural sources of iodine. Since we all jumped off the table salt bandwagon (supplemented with iodine since the 1920s), many of us are low on iodine. Iodine is vital to your thyroid health, which controls just about every metabolic process in your body.
But iodine alone doesn't make ribbon kelp a superfood...
Kelp supplements are high in:
- Vitamin B 12
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Other Seaweed vs. Kelp:
Most seaweeds are healthy food choices, but many have limited applications, such as the dry seaweed paper you use for many sushi recipes. Many food companies use kelp meal as a thickening agent! Ribbon kelp can be used in your kitchen for many different food applications. Your toothpaste might even have kelp in it.
Ribbon kelp is an excellent dietary choice for most, especially for someone looking to live a healthier lifestyle. Seafood combined with kelp foods is a perfect way to boost your micronutrients!
When it comes down to the kelp vs. seaweed debate, we can go either way. We are all about any kind of seafood, really. But we can't deny that kelp has many many options for you to choose from.
Kitchen uses for kelp:
- Alternative to salad greens
- Kelp noodles for pasta and stir-fries
- In soups, stews. Kelp adds that much-sought-after umami flavor to your fish stocks.
- Season rice with dried kelp powder.
- Kelp powder for smoothies
- Kelp iodine supplement
Keeping a box of frozen kelp in your freezer gives you the opportunity to eat and cook with kelp at any time.
Our Favorite Ways to Eat Ribbon Kelp:
It can be frustrating to stumble upon a great recipe and not having the ingredients on hand to create that recipe. That's why we also keep a box of kelp in our freezers for whenever the mood strikes.
- Pickled kelp
- Chopped up into our favorite quiche recipes
- Dried and flaked into a rice seasoning mix
- Kelp wrapped brie in the air fryer.
- Kelp meal added to fish stock or even used as a base for vegan fish stock.
- Kelp salad
- Lemon pasta with kelp
- Kelp seaweed crisps
- Kelp rib soup using the center rib. You can separate the curly sides of the kelp ribbons for other recipes.
- Spicy kelp noodles with tahini dressing
- Kelp lasagna
- Kelp walnut pesto
- Fresh salsa with kelp
- Kombu Dashi (kelp stock)
- Kelp infused oils
- Korean seasoned kelp chips.
Here is a quick kelp recipe you can make with only a few basic ingredients:
Kelp Rice Seasoning:
- 2 tablespoons of dried chopped kelp
- 1 tablespoon each of black and white sesame seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of granulated sugar.
Combine the dried kelp leaves with sesame seeds, salt, and sugar for a quick rice seasoning blend. Make it spicy by adding some dried pepper flakes or make it a bit earthy with some mushroom powder.
Use this kelp rice seasoning with homemade sushi, ramen or pho, in other soups, or sprinkle it over mashed avocado for a healthy meal!
It's so easy to elevate so many dishes with the simple addition of this remarkable ocean plant!
Ordering Ribbon Kelp from Global Seafoods:
When you order a box (or two!) from Global Seafoods, your kelp arrives pre-frozen at your door. If you plan on using kelp right away, defrost it in your fridge. Before using it in any recipes, we recommend that you first blanch your kelp to improve the color, flavor, and texture.
Feel free to place your box of kelp right in your freezer and cut off pieces of kelp as you need them, so the rest stays frozen. You can use as much as you need at a time by keeping it frozen.
We've worked diligently to perfect our shipping practices so that your food arrives at your door exactly as you ordered it, whether it's fresh or frozen. We offer fresh seafood, frozen seafood, and ocean supplements that you can order right from the comfort of your own home without going to the store. We want our customers to have access to the world's healthiest seafood and ocean supplements, no matter where they live.
Place an order today and start enjoying the best flavors our world's oceans have to offer! We follow a strict shipping schedule to ensure your delivery arrives quickly and safely.
For more information about our ordering and shipping schedules, please see our shipping page.
Check back often for new recipes and ways to use your favorite seafood items!