Sugar kelp is a plant-based seaweed species that grows naturally in our oceans around the world. They can grow wild in so-called Kelp Forests 5-10 meters below sea level, but in recent decades have started to be grown on ropes in the sea as it is a more gentle way for the marine environment if it is to be harvested for consumption.
Seaweed as a food is not a new invention but history shows that it was used in Japanese cooking as early as 4000 years ago. It's not new in Europe either - in the British Isles, sugar kelp was used as a sea vegetable as early as the 13th century. In 1905, the fifth taste of umami was invented from seaweed broth by Professor Ikeda of Tokyo University, read more about it here.
Seaweed has long been a central part of Asian cuisine, but is now moving in at a fast pace in both European and American cuisine. In Sweden, we primarily grow Sugar kelp, as it can both be widely used in food and has good conditions to be grown in healthy Swedish waters. By using seaweed, you also add several essential nutrientssuch as iodine, magnesium and calcium to your daily intake.
Are there products with seaweed in Sweden?
In everyday life, you can find sugar kelp in food products such as vegetarian burgers and steaks from VegMe, crispbread and seaweed salt, but also in beverage products, an example of which is the micro-distillery Klocktornet, which has flavoured its spirits with sugar kelp and sea lettuce teas.
Nordic SeaFarm also offers sample dishes where you can cook exciting dishes with sugar kelp at home in your own kitchen. Read more here