Because the sea weed, just like I did with the excited of realising this is my last post!
Here is a fun fact: every seaweed in the world is edible. And since there is so much of it on the Dunedin coastline, I figured I had better not let it go to waste.
The other thing seaweed has going for it is being super high in a really important nutrient – iodine. Of course, if you already get enough of this mineral, then eating more seaweed isn’t going to turn you into a superman or superwoman. However, it turns out that you may well be lacking. Studies in the first decade of this millennium found that the rate of iodine deficiency was been around 28% in Kiwi children, and 7% in pregnant mums, potentially leading to problems with brain development and hormone regulation.
In search of a cure I took myself to Seconds Beach, around the corner from St Clair. There is plenty of bull kelp in the shallows and I hacked just a small piece. I don’t expect enough people will follow my lead for this to be a problem.
At home I pickled it in a mixture of 1 part vinegar, 2 parts water and some spices. After a few days, I coated it in cornflour and baked it in the oven at 200° for 30 minutes. In hindsight, the cornflour was unnecessary, but I mention it here so you understand why the chips look the way they do. The flavour was very palatable, but thats not a high bar. I say leave this one for when you’re shipwrecked, or just find a better a recipe.
If you are really desperate to make sure you are getting enough iodine, well seaweed is one good source, but there are others. Pretty much all seafood is a good place to go, though it tends to be both expensive and not very sustainable. The most easily available source of iodine is simply iodised salt from the supermarket. In response to iodine deficiency, this product was first made available in New Zealand in 1924, but you can still buy the non-iodised kind, so check what you have at home to make sure you are not missing out on the good stuff. On top of this, for the last 7 years all commercially made bread in New Zealand has been enriched with iodine. The hope is now that iodine deficiency is less prevalent than it was when the surveys I mentioned earlier were carried out.
Of course, foraging for seaweed isn’t only about the health benefits. Wading out into the southern ocean is a pretty nice way to find a meal.
P.S. Thanks for following this blog over the last few months. Although the deadline for this blogging assignment is almost upon me, this is not the end. I’ll keep foraging, and keep updating this blog so it can be a resource for other local foragers and foodies.
So excuse me while I take a short break back to Sydney. When I come back I will just be blogging just for fun.