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Food Innovators Develop Seaweed That Tastes Like Bacon

Dulse, a type of seaweed, has for centuries been harvested in the wild and used in northern European cuisine. (Akuppa/Flickr)
Dulse, a type of seaweed, has for centuries been harvested in the wild and used in northern European cuisine. (Akuppa/Flickr)

Chefs working with the Food Innovation Center at Oregon State University have been experimenting with a patented, fast-growing new form of a seaweed called dulse, which has for centuries been harvested in the wild and used in northern European cuisine.

Researchers say their dulse, when fried, tastes like bacon. Vegans everywhere are rejoicing. Michael Morrisey, the center’s director, joins Here & Now host Jeremy Hobson to talk about the results.

Interview Highlights: Michael Morrisey

What does dulse taste like?

“It has kind of a savory taste. Fresh dulse has it’s own unique taste, it’s kind of more of like a seaweed, a more fresh ocean-type taste. When you fry it up and cook it in a certain way or smoke it, it can have a more savory flavor, more of a meaty flavor. Some folks say it kind of has bacon notes to it, but it kind of depends on how you appreciate your savory flavors.”

Why the Food Innovation Center’s strain of dulse is unique

“It’s a red macro-algae, and it’s harvested in the wild in Maine and off Ireland and Scotland and Scandinavia. What’s different with our dulse is that Chris Langdon, the researcher at the Hatfield Marine Science Center on the coast, he’s developed a certain strain of dulse grown in agriculture conditions – these 5,000 liter tanks – and he’s developed a certain strain that grows quite quickly, it will kind of double it’s weight in about every 10 days or so.”

How dulse stacks up against kale

“It has a lot of great attributes, as a lot of seafood products, especially seaweeds, have. It is very high in a lot of the B vitamins, higher protein content than kale as well. Certainly in many of the minerals, because seaweeds and sea vegetables are known for taking up vitamins from the water, so things like iodine, potassium, calcium. So it’s a great nutritional source.”

[Youtube]

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