Seaside Foraging For Fine Foods
Foraging is the act of gathering wild food for free. Although it's gained far greater popularity in recent years, it is not something to attempt casually. For those without knowledge and a discerning eye a foraged meal could put you in the hospital or worse. For most practitioners the most enjoyable thing about foraging is the way it compels a greater awareness of nature and our place in it. Foraging is also vastly different region to region. Foraging has grown into a movement all over the country over the last few years, from mountain trails to country roads and wooded glades including the ocean, where late summer is peak seaweed season. The west coast offers 650 different species from California to Washington State coast and they're all edible
The East coast brags a huge food foraging community invested in whet they term as Aqua culture. ”Aquaculture is defined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of plants and animals in all types of water environments including ponds, rivers, lakes, and the ocean” and foraging is a huge part of this culture especially when it reveals culinary tastes that defy delight the palate.
Harvesting and protecting areas of naturally grown seaweed is a component of an ecosystem friendly method to aquaculture referred to as Integrated Multi-Tropic Aquaculture (IMTA). IMTA has the potential to build resilience against environmental and economic change threatening the region’s coastal waters and is able to produce sustainable seafood for the community. By providing fish like Trout with protected kelp growing areas. The New England coast is actually pretty perfect for natural seaweed growth. New England’s 3,000 miles of rocky coastline, big tidal flows, and nutrient rich waters are an ideal climate for seaweeds to attach themselves and flourish. And with literally hundreds of varieties of old and new healthy alternatives to the average vegan fare foraging continues to grow in popularity.
Here is a list of a few of the most popular types of New England Seaweeds:
SUGAR KELP: The dried fronds of Sugar Kelp can be soaked and simmered to make a light broth. They can also be toasted and crumbled into powder or flakes to be used as a seasoning. Whole fronds can be used to wrap and steam vegetables, meats, and fish. Fresh kelp is milder and can be sliced and boiled for a healthy green vegetable. Dried kelp is a concentrated food, so a little goes a long way. Use about one dried frond strip per dish, or 3–5 grams.
BLADDERWRACK: You can forage for this thyroid healthy favorite all year round. Brown algae contains glutamic acid, a natural amino acid that imparts savory, meaty, umami flavors to food. Brown algae are also great sources of iodine. Rockweeds like bladderwrack are tough and can be bitter, so are not typically eaten directly but are great additives in dishes like chowders and fish stews. It's also a great vegan saltfish alternative. Just add thyme, lots of onions, tomatoes and hot pepper. Use it to steam other foods, particularly seafood, to impart flavor. It can also be dried and used to make a tea that provides a good source of iodine. For pantry it can be dried and used as a seasoning (powder or flakes) steamed, boiled, or fried and even eaten as a sea vegetable.
DULSE: This purplish red snacking find, can be found late Spring to early Autumn. The dried blades are often eaten straight out of the package as a salty snack. Dulse can be pan-fried to make a crisp salad topper that can be substituted for bacon bits or eaten as a chip. Excellent for appetizers as a side with cheese, Makes a bright surprise in salads and sandwiches, and as a seasoning. Dulse is a tender vegetable, and does not need to be simmered or soaked like many of the other sea vegetables. The flavor of dried dulse is intense, It is loaded with smoky flavor, and some compare it to bacon. As a seasoning a few blades or a large pinch added to food will be sufficient as an extra plus it's loaded with iron, calcium, magnesium, and protein,
IRISH MOSS: Irish moss is the easiest to harvest and is often reachable on foot. You'll find it clinging to the sides of rocky outcroppings and ledges from middle tide to beyond low tide. It can be used in soups, sauces and makes a surprisingly tasty Irish Moss Blackberry Ginger Jam. Many Caribbean Americans are familiar with this as an additive to a popular health drink of the same name rumored to add recuperative powers for males in areas of sexual stamina.
RISH MOSS DRINK RECIPE: Take approximately 3 cups of Irish Moss rinse thoroughly place in a pot of water about 1 gallon with linseed oil for 12-15 minutes. Place the whole pot in the fridge overnight. Next day scoop gelatin from the top and place in another container. You should get about a quart. In a saucepan put in 2 ups of coconut milk or Almond milk or a combination thereof. Add a quarter cup of Irish moss gelatin, monk fruit sugar or honey to taste, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg and vanilla simmer for ten minutes. When it cools, put in a blender with ice cubes and put on high until frothy. For a mixed drink add a shot of Jamaican white rum.