Sunday, 10 May 2015

What i learned about seaweed

Strangford Lough ... i KNOW
We were ridiculously lucky with the weather. Sun shone and skies were clear and it was warm. Everyone felt fantastic.

Dave Thompson - seaweed IDer and ecologist extrodinaire
Here we are by the shore... Strangford Lough is a truly amazing place. I have grown more and more fond of it. I remember when i first saw it, i was, meh. Now i am wow! I can't wait to start doing geography in Class 6. you can bet there will be trips to Strangford.

Sea beet - tastes like spinach but is not a spinach
It's amazing what you can eat... i have now learned to ID plants, lots of plants, so spotting things is quite easy for me now. Please do not ask me how to start ID-ing plants. I don't remember how i began doing it, but i can do it now.

Scurvy grass - is a cabbage tastes like the most bitter medicine you can imagine
I think the leaves of many of these edible bitter plants are very good liver tonics. I can imagine that the monks probably used them a lot in the olden times. Many of these plants also of course have medicnal qualities.

Any type of seaweed is edible... yep this is true
Not least seaweed. Seaweed is SO GOOD for you. When you eat it you can feel your body doing a wee dance.

Large kelp
I now know a little bit about seaweed. They do not reproduce using flowers, but have these gamates which are released during this ripening and they fertilise each other. There are wracks - like bladderwrack, toothedwrack and egg or knotted wrack. Which are the most common wracks. There is carageen which is a small wrack. There are the lettuces. There is the kelp - here is the digitatis and there is also sugar kelp. All seaweed is edible. All seaweed is delicious. Seriously, it is.

Brown sea lettuce
Such clear clean waters
Have to say i did not taste the very fine hairy seaweeds that looked like pondweed. Seaweed should only be harvested in clean water. Do not harvest seaweed if there is a predominance of gutweed and green sea lettuce. It means that the nutrient or poo content is very high in the water.

Orache or fat hen cousin
This tastes like... um i don't know what veg it could possible taste like which we have. It has a taste all of its own which is very delicious.

Sea pursilane
Sea pursilane is fleshy and salty and sweet. It is really good when you cook it. I now feel like i have taken a swim in the ocean because my mouth has that lingering taste of sea saltiness after a day swimming in the sea.

Shipwreck off the coast of Portaferry

Table full of seaweed
After that we went back and cooked a pizza, some miso soup and we taste carageen. There was also lava bread, salad with blawdderwarck cucumbers and lots of fermented this and that. The fermeneted sea beet was awesome. It was like kimchi.

Seaweed and ramsons
We also cooked using wild plants like ramsons, three cornered leek, alexanders - which reminded me of angelica - and cleavers.

Ramson pesto woith seaweed topping pizza

Carageen Moss pudding
This pudding tastes like biting into a cloud. It is one of my all time favourite desserts. Also i managed to ID carageen moss and gather some for the pudding which i will make.

Taking a break after a long day of cookoing with seaweed
After a long day of doing all that i stayed overnight. It was such a perfect perfect end to the day - it brought a very busy three weeks to an end for me. It felt like it was the first time i had been on my own for months. It was a really welcome break. And i read and read and read all the agriculture lectures...

Wrote three poems and read five lectures

Bladderwrack gamates - tastes of salty cucumber

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