April 19, 2021

This Seaweed Tastes Like Bacon and Has Twice the Nutritional Value of Kale!

Have you ever thought that seaweed would taste like bacon? Right, neither we did.

At Oregon State University (OSU), some researchers have patented a new strain of seaweed that tastes like bacon when it’s cooked.
According to Christopher Langdon, who is a researcher at OSU, he and his team started growing the new strain while trying to find a good food source for edible sea snails, or abalone, a very popular food in many parts of Asia, at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. Langdon realized he had his hands on something special when his colleague Chuck Toombs caught a glimpse of it growing. Toombs said he thought that “the seaweed had the potential for a new industry on the Oregon”. He then began working with the university’s Food Innovation Center, which created a variety of foods with the seaweed as its main ingredient.

Irish Moss and Pepper Dulse. 
Flickr/Akuppa John Wigham

Chuck Toombs said: “Dulse is a superfood, with twice the nutritional value of kale.

Dulse has actually been around for a long time already. It has been produced and consumed by people in northern Europe for centuries. It is well known as a natural source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Chris Langdon said that there’s no US company that grows red algae for people to eat, but the seaweed had been consumed by people in northern Europe for centuries. Also, Langdon said: “This stuff is pretty amazing. When you fry it, which I have done, it tastes like bacon, not seaweed. And it’s a pretty strong bacon flavor.

Some red algae are sold in the US now, but it is a different strain from the one harvested at OSU. Langdon said that he is growing about 20 to 30 pounds of the stuff a week, but he plans to more than triple the production. There is no analysis that has been done yet to find out whether commercializing the bacon-seaweed would be practical, the team thinks the vegan and vegetarian markets may be interested. Toombs’ MBA students are hard at work on a marketing plan for a new line of specialty foods.