By Kate Parham Kordsmeier
EATING SEAWEED MAY sound a bit
strange, but not only have you likely eaten it
before (it’s that paper-like wrapping around
most sushi rolls and is commonly used as a
thickener in candies, milks, desserts, jelly and
other foods), but seaweed has been in diets
around the world since people began eating,
says Crystal Maderia, Costco member, cookbook author and chef-owner of Kismet, a restaurant in Montpelier, Vermont.
“It’s just like a land vegetable, except seaweed—o;en called sea vegetables—grows in
water,” adds Julie Morris, author of the series
of Superfood cookbooks, including Superfood
Snacks: 100 Delicious, Energizing & Nutrient-Dense Recipes (Sterling, 2015; not available at
Costco). Edible algae, seaweed comes in red,
green and brown varietals known as nori,
dulse, sea lettuce, kombu, wakame or kelp.
In many Asian cultures, it’s eaten as a side
dish, served as a complement to rice, used as
a wrapper for sushi rolls, and added to soups
and salads as an alternative to lettuce. Like wise,
many European countries, namely Nordic
cultures and the UK, have also relied on seaweed to create many of their unique dishes,
including laverbread, snacks, puddings,
drinks and oatmeals.
Cooking and storing seaweed
So what does seaweed taste like? “It’s a
combination of salty—slightly oceany—and
umami [the ;;h ;avor that makes things like
meat and mushrooms so savory],” explains
Morris, who loves adding seaweed to grain
dishes like rice pilaf for an extra ;avor boost.
“When you add seaweed to a recipe, there’s
that certain something that makes it some-
thing you can’t stop eating.”
Seaweed is incredibly versatile, and can
be enjoyed in myriad ways. Maderia o;en
grinds roasted seaweed into a powder in her
food processor to use as a seasoning in
sauces and marinades, and even as a bak-
ing ingredient. Try adding a tablespoon
of powdered seaweed to baked goods,
like pizza dough, carrot cake or gingerbread,
she suggests: “It just disappears.”
She also uses uses her homemade sea-
weed powder as a marinade for meat to help
so;en it. Same goes for adding seaweed to
beans and other di;cult-to-digest vegetables.
Try adding roasted seaweed to nuts and
spices for a healthy snack, or simply eat it
plain, all on its own.
Roasted seaweed can last a long time, but
in order to keep the product crispy and fresh,
it’s best to store it in a sealed container in a
cool, dry, dark area.
Costco’s roasted seaweed
Costco recently began o;ering its own
Kirkland Signature™ line of roasted seaweed.
;e high-quality product is sourced from
South Korean farms using traditional techniques, which allow the seaweed to go through
a more natural growth process.
“Our seaweed is grown slowly in the cold
waters of a UNESCO biosphere reserve area,
ensuring clean, uncontaminated waters,” says
Gigi Jataas, assistant foods buyer for Costco.
“When you bite into the Kirkland Signature
seaweed, you’ll notice a lighter, crispier tex-
ture with a more savory taste.”
Kristen Hayes, Costco foods buyer, adds,
“We season our non-organic product with
canola oil, sesame oil and salt. And we’ve
recently become certi;ed with the Non-GMO
Project, which verifies that our seasoning
ingredients are not genetically modi;ed.”
“It’s also important to note the ‘Winter
Harvest’ speci;cation on our packaging,” says
Kristen. “;e best conditions to grow seaweed
involve mud ;ats, large tide variants and very
cold waters with high salinity. We harvest in
winter because the water conditions create a
superior-quality product and ;avor.” C
Kate Parham Kordsmeier (kateparhamkords
meier.com) is a food and travel writer, recipe
developer and cookbook author.
The Costco Connection
Look for Kirkland Signature Roasted Seasoned
Seaweed in your local warehouse. An organic
version is available in select locations.
A wholesome snack
Roasted seaweed pairs surprisingly well
with crisp beers. Inset: Top salads and pasta
with roasted seaweed for a flavorful boost.
for your table