by Mary Goddard
Why should I care about Bladderwrack?
Bladderwrack, even with its funny name, is a superfood. There is so much buzz about superfoods and many of them are big "trends". Surely you have heard of Acai berry, Quinoa, and even Chia Seeds. You might have even googled these foods and hundreds of recipes and nutritional information for these foods pop up.
Popweed and Rockweed are two common names for Bladderwrack.
However, when I googled Bladderwrack, or Fucus Vesiculosus (it's scientific name), I mostly get images of this seaweed on the beach, or online health stores offering this seaweed in powder form for its health benefits. Nothing appetizing pops up, in fact, I think in all of my scouring I came across one recipe.
I don't know about you, but vitamin capsules don't really excite me. At least they don't shake a creative bone in my body. I want to see big delicious images, and pictures of what I could possible make. I want to see images that cause my mouth to water.
Like this one:
Dark Chocolate Truffle w/Sesame Carmel Sauce & Toasted Popweed
Here is a recipe, that features bladderwrack, and one that I am likely to make. Ok, of course I am likely to make this recipe; this recipe is one Lauren and I came up with. However, now when you Google Bladderwrack this is an image that pops up. ;)
To be fair, after experimenting with Bladderwrack, I can see why recipes aren't flying off the website pages jumping into your laps, this seaweed is a difficult one to figure out. Yes, its chocked full of vitamins and minerals, yes it helps you to lose weight and to nip that cellulite in the butt, however, its texture is at first bumpy and slimy and when you harvest this seaweed you can "pop it" and watch as more slimy stuff oozes out.(Maybe now the name Popweed makes more sense?) Lets be honest.... at first look, it definitely isn't the most appealing seaweed.
But what is appealing about this seaweed, is that is is widely available for harvesting. It can be found from the beaches to Alaska to the Japanese shores, down to California and just about every rocky beach shore. Because it grows close to shore, it is an easy seaweed to harvest.
Also appealing, is that it is nutrient dense, power packed with vitamins, trace and macro minerals, iodine, iron and soothing soluble fiber.
Vitamins A, C, E, G, S, K, Zinc,Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, Sulfur, Silicon, B Complex Vitamins...
How do those nutrients help me?
The great thing about Superfoods, such as this seaweed, it that the nutrients really work together for your good. For example, because seaweed is rich in iron AND vitamin C, these two work together so that your body absorbs the iron. For me personally, that means I no longer have to take iron pills with a glass of orange juice to keep my iron up. Really! For the first time since I have been a teenager I am not longer anemic. That alone is reason enough for me to include this ingredient in my dishes.
Bladderwrack contains mucilage, which is a soothing soluble fiber. For those of you who struggle with heartburn and acid reflux, rejoice! This fiber helps coat the digestive tract and protects it from damage.
Don't have heartburn? How about wrinkles? Because bladderwrack is filled with minerals, it helps nourish and clean the skin of dryness, excess fluid retention and redness.
Wrinkles is the not the only challenge that comes with age. I have had so many people share with me that they have joint pain and arthritis. The carotene, mannitol, bromine and fucoidan all help combat these issues.
There are still more studies to be done, but studies that are out there have reported that bladderwrack helps regulate menstrual cycles, lowers cholesterol, fights obesity, combats cancer and infections. The list goes on and on. Do some research! You might be surprised.
Bladderwrack has a buttery taste to it when added to dishes. I made a risotto to accompany mushrooms and chicken, and at first attempt with making this recipe, I added too much Bladderwrack. The result was similar to adding too much butter to any dish. But with the right amount, on my third attempt...the dish came out beautifully. Nixing butter all together from this recipe, and punching up this recipe with some health benefits, I am beginning to like this seaweed more and more. (Now I can see how you might lose some weight with this ingredient!)
Creamy Rockweed Risotto with Chicken & Mushrooms
That lead me to try a whole roast chicken and substituting dried bladderwrack for butter. I cut little slits in the chicken skin and hide bladderwrack underneath. The chicken was delightfully flavored and not once did I miss the butter.
Roast Chicken with Rockweed, Garlic & Shallots
My mind has gone all over the place, rummaging and scrounging around for ideas that this ingredient would shine in. After sitting down with Lauren and each of us trying the dried bladderwrack, and then the reconstituted bladderwrack, we both discussed the taste of bladderwrack. It tastes slightly like oysters.
"I think I will make oyster crackers with bits and pieces of dried bladderwrack!" - and off goes my imagination...
Once your mind can categorize a "taste" I think it is much easier to come up with recipes and how to use it. The inside of the little bladders of the seaweed remind me of aloe, or the slimy gel chia seeds make when soaked. This leads to whole new ways of testing out recipes and of ideas to try out.
Lauren made a ceviche. (Mind blown! I would have never thought of that.)
Now that I got you interested in these recipes your next question may be, "Where can I get Bladderwrack?"
Well, I am so glad you asked! Let me show you!
Click on the photo to check out our short video on harvesting Bladderwrack.
Click on the photo to check out our guide. (Yes, thats Lauren testing out a freshly harvest piece of Bladderwrack!)
Don't live in a place you can harvest?
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