Only a tiny proportion of edible sea vegetables are consumed in significant amounts, mostly in Japan, where popular varieties include wakame and konbu (or kombu). In Britain we are most familiar with the red dulse eaten as a snack in Ireland, and laver, which is another name for the Japanese nori.
Unless gathered absolutely fresh, seaweed tends to be sold dried. It is available fresh from May to June.
Fresh seaweed does not keep well, so it is best to buy it ready-processed and dried.
Carrageen, or Irish moss, is used as a vegetarian gelling agent in some processed foods. Seaweed can be eaten raw in salads, stir-fried or dried and used as a seasoning.
Article by Felicity Cloake
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