Tang and Tare:
The total guide to the sea's super food in 2018!
Whether you call it seaweed, kelp or algae, we are talking much about the same; the sea’s delicious and nutritious vegetables!
Let us give you a full overview of what seaweed is, what it’s good for, where you can find it and what you can use it for, amongst other things. This Ultimate Seaweed Guide will show you all there is to know about seaweed uses, their nutritional content, the tastiest of recipes, tips for harvesting and some nice facts about seaweed of which you may not be aware.
Also, if you have not wondered by now, let us start by answering one important question…
What Is This “SJØSAKER” Thing?
Here at Tekslo we have come up with the name Sjøsaker [pronounced “shuh-sah-kah” – The sound of the ø is similar to the ‘u’ in «sun»] (and that definition we actually own!). In short, it describes vegetables from the sea in a bit of a mash up of words in Norwegian.
We promise it makes perfect sense if you know the language!
Tekslo Seafood - About Us
Since he has the day-to-day responsibility for our business, it is a good thing he has a solid background as a project manager. He has the ability to think big (Maybe even HUGE!), but still keeps his feet well planted down on earth.
Local knowledge, seamanship and common sense are all useful tools when Robert leads our efforts in harvesting, and drying our products. With creativity and a good head for technical solutions, he is constantly improving our routines and procedures to make our products even better and cheaper.
Jan Petter is a little extra happy to talk to new people, and is very focused on how they experience our products. That is why he is the main responsible party over Marketing and the profile for both Tekslo and our product series Sjøsaker.
OUR MISSION IS TO GET SEAWEED BACK ON THE TABLE
Where the Atlantic Ocean meets the North Sea, and along our coast, there is an underused and partly forgotten natural resource. Our ancestors lived of the sea for thousands of years. For them, seaweed was a vital source of vitamins, minerals, calcium and iodine.
All of us that started Tekslo Seafood grew up by the sea. Together we have a dream of creating a more sustainable earth, turning the trends around food and health, and introducing seaweed to the world.
Our harvesting areas are located in the sea gorge at Tekslofyret, west of Tofterøy on Sotra. With perfect conditions, currents, clean and clear sea with high nutrient content, without fish farming or other polluting elements, these are optimal growth conditions for the plants.
We harvest wild seaweed by hand, from islets and sheaves. This allows us to only harvest seaweed of the very highest quality. Then we dry the plants in our self-developed drying rooms built within the framework of a traditional boathouse.
We want to reach the widest possible audience with our knowledge of this nutritious and pure natural product, so that it can again be part of the diet of most people.
So…Where do we start?!
Well…With WHAT seaweed actually is!
What Is Seaweed?
The truth is; It’s really a very big algae!
Algae, also known as seaweed, are a group of photosynthetic non-flowering plant-like organisms (called macroalgae) that live in the sea. They are mainly not plants, but members of the Protista kingdom. As such, they do not have roots, stems, leaves, flowers nor cones.
They are slightly different from one another, but there is not really much of a difference between them. Some species grow closer to the shore and others grows deeper in the ocean.
Grouped into four color-related types, seaweed call coastal areas their home. They are also known as marine algae. Seaweeds are a healthy, tasteful, easy to prepare and moderately-priced vegetable that is also an Asian favorite.
Collected either by hand or by divers, seaweeds are as much a hunting activity as gathering was before our farm days. Traditional as a food source in the East, seaweeds make looking at the ocean now as a big bank of macroalgae. They are an especially solid option to combat terms of food crisis in our globalized world.
Why Is Seaweed Good for You?
Proteins, vitamins, minerals, natural fats, carbohydrates, Omega 3 and Omega 6 acids…these are all part of the rich ingredients in algae, all of which are essential nutrients to the human body.
On top of above, seaweeds also contain about 5-30% of their average dry weight in protein. As a plant protein, which is essential to vegetarian and vegan diets, Seaweed is actually also rich in iodine, zinc, potassium, magnesium, calcium, selenium and phosphorus!
An incomparable wealth of minerals, macroelements and trace elements are fed into seaweeds by the majestic ocean. In fact, the amount of minerals in seaweed alone is almost 36% of its dry matter.
Furthermore, just the Omega 3 and Omega 6 acids, which are all part of the algae’s polyunsaturated fatty acids, are great for disease prevention. Seaweed thus helps prevent cardio-vascular diseases, osteoarthritis and diabetes.
Why Is Seaweed Called a Superfood?
And what is this superfood stuff anyway?
Superfoods are mostly plant-based foods (aside from those that consist of fish and dairy) that are thought to be nutritionally dense and thus good for one’s health.
We consider seaweeds as superfood thanks to their high level of nutrients and their health benefits over and above normal nutrition. Simply put and depending on the type of seaweed of which we speak, seaweed can contain over 50 different important vitamins, minerals and trace elements. It is a more complex and nutritious plant than land plants, even.
There is tons more we can say about superfoods and the superfood content of algae. We have thus created an insightful sub-article for you on this topic here.
Health Benefits to Eating Seaweed
Seaweed is a very healthy dietary supplement, as well as being a food that is sustainable and raises the taste of your dinner!
Some of the most remarkable health benefits to consuming seaweed are its regulation of blood sugar and cholesterol levels, the reduction in lipid absorption in the gastrointestinal tract, weight loss and anti-obesity effects, how it helps with cardiac health improvement, and its promotion of intestinal health.
Algae are rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, poly-unsaturated fatty acids, and dietary fibers.
Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated the health benefits of seaweed consumption. As an example, the Scottish Food Health and Innovation Service has listed 21 health benefits to eating seaweed. These have furthermore been linked to the nutrient composition of seaweed.
If you would like to find out more, we expand on the health benefits to seaweed, even under a clinical study and research section, in this article here.
What Do Elements Have to Do with Seaweed?
Iodine, potassium, magnesium and calcium… a chemist would argue these are all parts of the elements.
What do these have to do with seaweed, however?
All of the listed elements above are part of the nutritional content of seaweeds. They are all part of the nutritional and health benefits that a dietary intake of these minerals can provide. Minerals, such as the ones we name above as being comprised in seaweed, are also widely used in health beneficial supplements.
What is Sodium?
Sodium is an essential nutrient that, in our diet, comes mostly from salt.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that an average adult eats 8 to 12 grams of salt everyday. However, the recommended sodium amounts per day differs from that amount at just 5 grams on the daily.
Check out our article on salt and sodium to go over risks and benefits of sodium over and underconsumption.
Seaweed Salt – Another Option to Salt
Another option in the salt world is seaweed salt.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV have concluded that algae could be used as a salt substitute, which would also help reduce sodium content.
1g of table salt contains 0.4g of sodium, whereas 1g of seaweed salt contains between 0.022g to 0.047g sodium, depending on its corresponding seaweed species.
Seaweeds have the unique ability to concentrate iodine from the ocean, with certain types of brown seaweed accumulating even over 30,000 times the iodine concentration of seawater around them. Thus, seaweeds are an excellent supply of our daily needs of iodine, especially as they come without the risk of increased levels of sodium.
What is Iodine?
Iodine is an essential trace element that is required for thyroid hormone synthesis (De Benoist, et al. 2008). It is especially important for children and pregnant women.
There are inherent risks associated with iodine deficiency, all of which we detail more in-depth in THIS IODINE ARTICLE HERE, along with a section on how to control iodine levels.
What Is Potassium?
Potassium is an essential nutrient that is required for normal cell function. We detail more on its functionality within the human body in this sub-article here.
If you are wondering how much potassium you should be eating and where to get it, check this article here for the recommended nutrient intake (RNI ) for an average adult and its comparison to spinach, for example. We also share the Health Benefits to Potassium Intake therein.
Magnesium is a mineral macronutrient you can find in seaweed. In fact, seaweed generally contains high mineral content, which ranges between 8-40% of its dry mass.
So seaweeds have an average of 90 to 570 mg/100g of magnesium. How much of the recommended nutrient intake (RNI ) of magnesium for an average adult that represents is described in better detail here along with a detailed explanation on just how much Magnesium seaweeds have and all of the health benefits the intake of Magnesium provides.
Seaweeds are one of the most important vegetable sources of calcium, which is a mineral that the body needs to maintain bone strength and carry out many important functions. The most common reference of relevance of calcium intake has to do with pregnant women, adolescents and the elderly.
In regards to pregnancy, how calcium is a plus for vegans and lactose intolerant people and calcium and disease prevention, please note we expand on all this and more in this more thorough article on calcium and seaweed.
We expand on seaweeds and calcium supplements, calcium bioavailability and why that matters, as well as the recomended dietary allowance for calcium in this short article here.
Carotenoids, of which β–Carotene (Beta-carotene) is one, are powerful antioxidants.
β-carotene is also a precursor of vitamin A, which means that the human body converts β -Carotene into vitamin A.
Furthermore, more reports have confirmed that lower incidence of age-related chronic diseases is associated with consumption of carotene-rich vegetables, which would include seaweeds as further explained in the vitamin and seaweeds article here.
Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential for normal body growth and nutrition. Divided in fat or water soluble, Seaweeds contain both kinds of vitamins.
We need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucous membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision, for example, and Vitamin C strengthens the immune defense system while also being able to activate the intestinal absorption of iron, amongst other functions.
Interested in knowing more? We expand considerably more on the diverse vitamins (more detailedly, on vitamin A and β -Carotene, all of the B vitamin group, as well as vitamin C) and their direct and indirect relations to seaweed in this power article on seaweed and vitamin here.
Carotenoids are powerful antioxidants. Recent studies have shown a correlation between a diet rich in carotenoids and a diminishing risk of cardio-vascular disease, cancers, and opthalmological diseases .
Seaweeds as Carotenoids
All in all, a lot of studies have demonstrated the antioxidant properties of the algal carotenoids and the role they play in preventing many pathologies that are linked to oxidative stress (Burtin, 2003).
However, and put succinctly, seaweeds are just the main dietary source of vitamins and phytochemicals (Sangeetha, 2009). Let us describe them for you:
Brown seaweeds are particularly rich in carotenoids especially in fucoxanthin, β-carotene and violaxanthin.
The main carotenoids in the red algae are the β-carotene and α-carotene. The red seaweed of the Gracilaria spp. was also recently found to have 5.4 mg of beta carotene per 100 g dry weight, which is a relatively high level compared to other vegetables (MacArtain, et al., 2007).
The carotenoid composition of the green algae is similar to that of higher plants: the main carotenoids present are the β-carotene (Burtin, 2003).
Polysaccharides from natural sources are effective, non-toxic substances with a wide variety of activities. They can act as probiotics (substances that stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract) and exert growth-promoting and health- improving effects. However, in its raw definition, polysaccharide are a carbohydrate (such as starch, cellulose, or glycogen).
Seaweed, in fact, contain a large amount of carbohydrates as structural, storage, and functional polysaccharides. Its total carbohydrate content may range from 20% to 76% of dry weight, depending on the species. When faced with human intestinal bacteria, however, most of these polysaccharides are not digested. Therefore, seaweeds can be regarded as dietary fibres.
All in all, polysaccharides are used in food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, stabilizers, emulsifiers, thickeners, as feeding, along with being part of other products for human consumption (Admassu, et al., 2015).
Along with Chlorella sp., spirulina is one of the two best known examples of edible microalgae. It is a low-fat, low-calories, virtually cholesterol-free source of protein.
We expand on the protein composition and the health benefits to spirulina intake in this fuller Spirulina and Seaweed article.
However, just to give you an idea, 1g of spirulina contains as much vitamin as 1kg of fresh vegetables. It is 50 times richer in iron than spinach and 10 times richer in beta-carotenes than carrots.
Types of Seaweed
Algae, also known as seaweed, are a group of photosynthetic non-flowering plant-like organisms (called macroalgae) that live in the sea. They are not plants, but members of the Protista kingdom, which partly explains why they do not have roots, stems, leaves, flowers nor cones.
We describe four diverse types of algae (green, red, brown and blue Microalgae) a lot more in-depth in this article. Interestingly, however, blue-green algae are not marine algae, but cyanobacteria.
Green algae mostly contain chlorophyll and storage polysaccharides. Yet, they are also rich in magnesium, calcium, iodine, and phosphorus (Jaspars & Folmer, 2013). The main carotenoids present in these algae are β-carotene (Burtin, 2003).
Would you like to know more about Carotenoids? Check out this article we have on them.
Red seaweed get their color from phycoerythrin and phycocyanin. These two actually mask the other pigments, Chlorophyll a (not Chlorophyll b), beta-carotene and a number of unique xanthophylls (http://www.seaweed.ie) that it also bears in its own composition. Also, red seaweed bears protein levels thus comparable to those found in high-protein vegetables, such as soybeans, while red algae also contains around 100 to 800 mg/ kg in vitamin C levels.
Brown algae get their color from a dominance of a xanthophyll pigment named fucoxanthin. Furthermore, the abundance of phlorotannins and the carotenoid fucoxanthin allows brown algae to have anti- obesity and anti-diabetic properties (Jaspars & Folmer, 2013).
In addition, brown seaweeds are rich in carotenes (provitamin A) and vitamin C. The amounts in which they range go from 500 to 3000 ppm, respectively.
Now, Blue seaweed, also known as microalgae, are the largest primary biomass. They cover 70 percent of the earth’s surface to a depth of up to 200 m.
Until recently, microalgae have been an untapped resource. However, the recognition of their potential application for biofuel production and for protein and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) extraction for human food supplementation has led to a boom in the microalgae culture industry (Jaspars & Folmer, 2013).
Ways To Eat Seaweed
There are tons of ways in which people add rich seaweed to everyday food! Toss it fresh in a salad, for example, or press it into a roll to chew on like gum.
We will cover how to eat fresh and raw, rehydrated and dried seaweed in a specific article right here, but seaweed can also be boiled as a vegetable, mixed in with your meal, baked into cakes, boiled with milk for pudding or just plain used as a base condiment or as a thickener for soups.
So Seaweed is Viking food?
It has been a part of the seafarers and coastal people’s diet for hundreds of years, both here in Norway, as well as in many other places in the world.
However, in parts of Asia, people eat seaweed daily, as well.
Want to learn more about the Asian cuisine and history? Check out our article on seaweed and history in Japan, Korea, China and Europe here.
Seaweed and Children
Do your children like vegetables and fish?
Lucky you if they do, as we are sure you must know by now! The truth is that many parents struggle to get their children to eat healthy foods.
Seaweed is perhaps not your child’s first choice, either. Yet, our flaky products can easily be camouflaged in sauces, tacos, stews, meatballs, soups … you name it! Before you know it, your little one will have absorbed much needed vitamins and nutrients for a growing child without complaints!
Seaweeds and Weight Management
Seaweed is not a slimming agent! It is important for us to begin by saying that.
However, the alginate do have properties that slow down the absorption of fat. Furthermore, the content of late digestible carbohydrates and fiber in the seaweed types you can eat in larger quantities can help slow down digestion (like sea spaghetti do).
In addition, Umami enhances food flavors, which allows you to give more flavor to the dining experience without adding too much extra fat or sugar.
Seaweed and Sustainability
Seaweeds can be an important contribution to global food supplies in an environmental and food supply crisis. They are also responsible for the increased biodiversity of the sea. In the context of dwindling fisheries and continuously degrading coastal ecosystems, seaweeds gladly puts this conversation back on the table.
Furthermore, seaweed cultivation is simple and its effects on biodiversity are an added advantage. At this stage, seaweeds can substitute up to 15% of food on a dry weight basis.
Seaweed in Construction Work
In some parts of Europe, marine plants were also used for housing construction.
The islanders of Læsø, in Denmark, used eelgrass as roofing material. They also stuffed furniture with seaweed. Local women of Læsø are furthermore credited with the invention of using their wool-work skills to process seaweed.
In 2007, a seaweeds bank was founded in Læsø in order to newly learn the mentioned processing techniques, but also to preserve the remaining historic buildings.
In 2012, group efforts to preserve and maintain seaweed processing techniques were acknowledged with the Europa Nostra Prize for education, training, and raising awareness of cultural heritage.
Seaweed for Glass Production
The first recorded commercial use of seaweeds in Europe has to do with algae being used for the production of glass in France and Norway. Algae ashes were used to replace wood ash in glass production back in the 17th century.
Harvesting and Drying Seaweeds
Seaweeds are harvested in the archipelago south and west of Tofterøy in Sund Kommune. Tekslo Seafood’s vision is to harvest as sustainable as possible, with the least impact on the fauna in the sea.
We harvest the plant by hand; at which time we cut it to ensure the best possible growth. Ensuring that you get the freshest possible seaweed on the drying line is a safe way into a high quality finished product.
The areas we harvest will never be harvested several times before we see that the regrowth is present and we also work under a harvesting plan that allows us to ensure that harvest locations be rotated and monitored.
An actual footage from our guys.
Seaweed’s Biological Facts
The vegetation of the sea is more primitive in the evolutionary scale than that of the land. Seaweeds have no flowers or seeds, for example. Their reproduction and distribution is accomplished by asexual spores (which are simpler structures than seeds.) Seaweeds, then, do not have roots, but are anchored to the substratum by a structure called a holdfast. Marine algae thus absorb their necessary mineral nutrients directly from the sea water through their leaf-like fronds.
Seaweeds Preserve Food
Marine algae have an antibiotic component that helps preserve foods. Natives of some Pacific Islands, for example, apparently use seaweeds to wrap fresh fish. It is said to help delay putrefaction.
In some places, though, where refrigeration facilities are lacking, foods which ordinarily spoil quickly (like meat and fish) are sometimes cooked with seaweed agar. By being embedded in a gel which resists bacteria, these foods can remain wholesome for a longer time than foods who are not protected in such a way.
Seaweeds, the Vegan Option
Vegetarian and vegan diets include adequate nutrients from non–meat sources. People who live off meats actually eat a variety of foods; such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, soy products, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. This lifestyle can be healthy and may even lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. However, eating balanced meals and snacks requires some extra attention.
Since vegan and vegetarian diets dispense of certain foods, they often need to add foods in that will provide the same nutrients that are found in animal products. Vegetarians, especially vegans, pay peculiar attention at getting enough protein, iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and omega–3 fatty acids.
Seaweeds make up for a rich source of a lot of vitamins and minerals, along with other nutrients. They are thus an excellent option for vegan and vegetarian diets.
Some foods, like panna cotta, mousse, tomato sauce and jellies, tend to easily rely on gelatin for their unique textures. Gelatin, however, is made from animal collagen, which poses a difficulty for most vegans and vegetarians. With the agar off a seaweed, however, you can make jellies without any animal content. The plus side to it is that it sets quickly and it also has eight to ten times more gelatinizing power than gelatin.
The Tekslo Seafood Recipes
We understand how creativity in the kitchen is a learnt sport.
Especially when it comes to adding vitamins and minerals to your diet through a new ingredient, such as seaweed can be to many. Do not despair! On the contrary, enjoy your time cooking with these delicious recipes we have put together for you. Let us know how it goes!
Debio Authentication and More
All our products are manufactured in an organic and sustainable manner, and our products were therefore Debio approved December 2017.
In order to follow this up we follow a code with the following points: (Uses the points in code of conducts from UK)
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The Seaweed Guide Navigation
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