“Sea” Worthy Flavor: A Closer Look at Seaweed

When I was a little girl, I would love going to the ocean. Growing up in Missouri, I didn’t get many opportunities but one time I went to the Atlantic Ocean.  I walked out towards the shoreline and…right into a pile of seaweed.  I thought I had never seen anything so disgusting or fascinating in my life.  It was slimy, green and seemed so alive. But I will be honest… never did I imagine that one day I would be writing about EATING seaweed.

Named a top ten food trend for 2014 by practically every trend list, seaweed has been consumed by our globe mates in Asia since the beginning of time.  Why? Because it’s loaded with protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (ten times that of vegetables grown on land) and provides the perfect balance of essential fatty acids.

You may first associate seaweed with nori, the base for California rolls. There are actually over 10,000 varieties of seaweed but there are five more commonly used types for cooking including kelp, dulse, wakame, kombu, and arame.  Chefs are using these types of seaweed because it adds an amazing saltiness and umami to just about any type of food whether a salty snack, dried as a thickener for desserts, or as a finishing seasoning when you need a salty flavor “oomph”.

Bring the flavor of the sea to your product formulations

Joining soy sauce, parmesan, and shiitake, seaweed is right up there in the ranks as a top flavor enhancer providing umami benefits of boosting flavor and creating taste harmony. So go ahead and crumble roasted nori sheets on salads, sprinkle red seaweed (dulse) on soups right before serving, and of course, consider adding Nikken’s Kombu Extract Powder to your pantry of umami-boosting ingedients. Kombu Extract Powder imparts a seafood, ocean-type profile but can also lend umami complexity even at low usage levels to seafood, soups/soup bases, sauces and snack seasonings.

No, I don’t plan on carting home seaweed from my summer beach trip.  Because I am already seeing seaweed on the national grocers’ shelves in many forms: roasted, in snack formats, sprinkles, or raw. And you can have it just as easily: request a sample of our Kombu Extract Powder today to experience another umami flavor booster in action in your next product development project. We promise its slime free.