Kelp Laminaria longicruris

Kelp tends to grow in swiftly moving currents, and a single plant can reach up to 15 feet in length by the time it is harvested at about 2 or 3 years of age.  A small number of the plants in each bed are harvested, allowing the populations to regenerate quickly, and minimizing our impact on the overall ecosystem.

Kelp can be cooked as a vegetable, and its neutral flavor pairs well with a wide variety of other veggies. Re-hydrate in a small amount of water until it is soft, cut into thin strips or squares, and simmer or steam with other vegetables for 15-25 minutes to desired tenderness, adding other ingredients according to their individual cooking times.

Kelp makes an excellent addition to soup stocks, and imparts a mild flavor to other foods that it is prepared with. Use a 4-6 inch strip per quart of water.  It can also be crisped in an oven on low heat, and broken up by hand or processed in an electric coffee grinder to be used as a salt substitute and flavor additive.

Kelp is also commonly added to bean dishes when cooking. Adding a 4-6’” strip for every 2 cups of beans will improve their digestibility, decrease cooking time, thicken the texture, and enrich the overall flavor of the finished dish. Kelp is an excellent source of calcium, potassium, iodine, trace minerals and vitamin A.

Kelp Noodles

3-4 oz Kelp

3 Garlic cloves

Butter or olive oil

Lemon Juice (optional)

Re-hydrate kelp by soaking in just enough warm water to cover for 3-5 minutes, then cut into long thin ribbons. The fastest way to do this is to lay the pieces on top of each other to form a stack, and roll them up tightly into a bundle so that your knife cuts the entire length of the plant. A serrated knife may also be helpful with this. Steam or simmer the noodles for 20-30 minutes or longer, to desired tenderness. Chop the garlic and sauté briefly in the butter or oil, then pour over the cooked noodles. Season with lemon and black pepper to taste.

Another excellent variation is to toss the cooked noodles with pesto.

Crispy Kelp Garnish

Heat a few pieces of kelp in a dry or lightly oiled frying pan until crisp, or roast gently in the oven at 250 for 3-5 minutes. Crumble it over cooked vegetable dishes, rice, soups, salads, stir fries, etc. after cooking for a  crunchy and delicious twist.

Kelp Fronds Stuffed with Pork

Twelve 3-4” pieces of kelp

1 pound pork

2 cups cooked brown rice

4 carrots, grated

3 cloves garlic, diced

2 TBSP parsley

3 TBSP soy sauce

2 TBSP  wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

Re-hydrate the kelp, and cut into lengths of 4-5”. Sauté the carrots and garlic for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Add the pork and continue until cooked. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for a few more minutes until blended together. Lay the kelp out on a cutting board, top with patties of the stuffing mixture, and roll it up, securing each roll with toothpicks. Steam the rolls in a pot for about 25 minutes till the fronds are tender and serve hot.