Seaweed Options for the Busy Home Cook

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For those of us out there who are careful about what we eat, and for whom provenance, sustainability and organic are important factors worth paying for, there is increasing choice on our supermarket and health store shelves. Acai berries, kale, hemp, chia - lots of foods have come along in recent times, each claiming 'superfood' status and offering health benefits. It's a pity that some of them don't taste too great. Can you add seaweed to that list? In this post in the 'seaweed options for busy people' series, we look at seaweed as part of a healthy diet in the household of the active home cook.

Let's talk about taste first. Here's where commercially prepared seaweed - like the smRt range - has a strong advantage. It's a question of proportion. If you use the right proportion of seaweed ingredients to your home-baked bread for example,  you don't taste the sea at all, but you still get the seaweed benefits, and more of those later. If you positively love to taste the sea you simply increase the proportion of seaweed to suit your palate. Better still, you can always use ingredients like smRt dulse on your chowder or salads to give the food a flavoursome 'bang'.

The range of foods you can add seaweed ingredients to is ever growing. We've tried them in breads, pastas, cakes, smoothies, soups, chowders, as stock, in hard or soft cheese, chocolate, sauces, gravies, marinades, seasonings - and we add to that list all the time. There are so many ways to prepare, cook and bake your foods with seaweed ingredients. Seaweed is rich in vitamins and elements like iodine, which are essential to healthy growth and living. We've worked hard to develop the right blends of seaweed to make it easy for you to get the right amount of iodine - not too little and not too much - in your and your family's diet.

These days there are plenty of warnings of the amount of sugar and salt we're ingesting. We're surrounded by processed foods, and it's sometimes difficult to avoid them. We also tend to add salt for more flavour all the time. On the plus side, seaweed contains something called umami, which is a natural glutamate and works as a flavour enhancer for savoury foods. Eating foods containing seaweed goodness will help you and your family enjoy flavourful meals while reducing the levels of salt you take in at the same time.

People who like to eat fresh and healthy wherever they can also tend to be very conscious of where the food they buy comes from, and the processes used to grow, collect and transport it. This also extends to moral as well as healthy choices around meat, fish, dairy and wheat-based products. This is where our seaweed ingredients come into their own. There's a wealth of seaweed available on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way and coastland areas. The smRt range of ingredients are 100% Irish, 100% organic, and are farmed 100% sustainably according to various best practices and principles. As you might expect with vegetables of the sea, they're 100% vegan and gluten-free too.

One other benefit for the home cook is something we discovered during our years of using seaweed blends in our restaurant. Seaweed acts as a natural preservative! When you bake your bread with seaweed, it stays fresher and spongier for much longer than you're used to. So, if it's just you or you have a small family unit, you'll find that a full loaf will last much better, even after slicing, which really helps with that other bugbear of the home cook - waste. Seaweed is good for our bodies and good for our wallets.

There's a host of seaweed-based quick meal and snack recipes for the health-conscious and busy home cook. You can find a good few of our own on our recipes page. Otherwise, contact us to find out more, or have a look in the smRt shop. And remember, products like smRt bake have a very long shelf life and an 800g bucket is good for around 160 healthy loaves!