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She Sells Seaweed On The Sea Shore
10:03am 6th November 2014
A Cornish seashore superfood is becoming the must-have ingredient for chefs in restaurants up and down the country.
Man has been eating seaweed for centuries and it has remained hugely popular across parts of Asia.
But despite the Duchy's abundant coastline, only a tiny fraction of the eight million tonnes harvested worldwide each year is grown or eaten here, even though some species contain more calcium than milk and more iron than beef.
Now businesses like the Cornish Seaweed Company are making the most of what the sea has to offer.
Founder Caro Warwick-Evans said: "There is so much seaweed in this country. We have got a fantastic resource right here and we are just at the beginning of the industry."
She and her partner Tim Van Berkel were granted a licence to harvest seaweed on the west coast of Cornwall by the Crown Estate two years ago.
Now they cut 1,000kg of it a month before washing it, drying it and packaging it ready for sale.
Their seaweed has become a crucial part of the menu at a new contemporary fish and chip restaurant called Hook which has just opened up in Camden, north London.
Chef Simon Whiteside serves it as a side salad, pickle and also as a seaweed salt to season every dish.
He said: "It's such an under-used ingredient so it's really nice to show new ways of using it and seeing how fresh and vibrant it can actually be and not something that's there when the tide goes out."
At Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant in Cornwall head chef Andy Appleton has been experimenting with seaweed for the past year.
One recipe involves cooking the seaweed known as sea spaghetti with pasta and seafood.
"Adding something that we know is natural and gives that extra added flavour is great and it's high in vitamins and iron," he said.
"I think we will see it on more menus as more and more people learn about it and understand it."
At Hook in Camden customers were willing to give it a try.
David Jenkin said the wakame pickle tasted "divine".
"It's chewy, it tastes fresh and tastes like it's good for you," he said.
But Greg Purkis was not so keen.
"It's not doing it for me," he said, "... superfood or no superfood."
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