If you currently use seaweed supplements, chances are good (VERY good if you use Sea Veg!) that you’ll see Oarweed listed in the ingredients. Some may ask, “what is Oarweed and how is it used?” Good question! Keep reading to learn more.
What is Oarweed and where does it come from?
Oarweed, also known as Laminaria digitate, is a species of kelp that comes from the Laminariaceae family and is widely found on exposed shores in the northern Atlantic Ocean. It can be found in the northeastern part of the U.S. stretching all the way to Greenland. It’s a sturdy dark brown seaweed that attaches to a rock by its holdfast, and grows to 2-3 yards long. The rock has a root-like structure that branches out from it. People can distinguish between Oarweed and other seaweeds, mostly due to the dark color and toughness of the stalk that doesn’t snap easy.
Oarweed has long glossy ribbons often referred to as “fingers” and is mostly found in shallow ocean areas. These ribbons make good places for marine animals to live and for other seaweeds to grow.
How is Oarweed used?
Prior to the 18th century, it was mostly used for fertilizer, and often still is in the Japanese region. During the 18th century it was burned, and its potash was extracted for use in the glass industry. In the 19th century it was used for the extraction of iodine and it’s now often used for manufacturing cosmetics and toothpastes around the world. It can also be used in cooking to thicken and bind food, and is often used in Japanese and Chinese soup stock called Dashi.
Dashi is the base for miso soup, served worldwide in Japanese and Chinese cuisine. The stock is often made with kelp and bonito flakes, or a combination of both. Because of the deep flavors of dashi, the use of other spices is greatly reduced, especially sugar and salt. Dashi is mostly commonly used in miso soup, but can also be found in ramen and noodle dishes as well. It’s a great substitute for everyday canned broth when a recipe calls for a touch of liquid.
While Oarweed is edible, it’s not traditionally eaten raw or as a vegetable. It’s best to dry it or add it to soups or stocks. It can also be used in papers, textiles, and for stabilizing food such as ice creams and jellies. Often it can also be used in place of a bay leaf, to bring rich flavors as a substitute.
Can Oarweed Benefit My Health?
Yes. When alginic acid is combined with water, it forms an alginate. This alginate can hold great amounts of water and is often used in pharmaceutical, medical and culinary industries, as it can prevent the absorption of fat cells by up to 75%, and is often used as a dietary supplement for weight loss. Oarweed has also been known to improve mental health, reduce high blood pressure and can increase energy levels.
Oarweed Nutritional Facts
Oarweed contains 4 calories, per 2 Tbsp., and has 1.68% of a person’s daily calcium intake.
The 4 calories in one serving of Oarweed is equivalent to the calories burned while:
- Running (6 mph) for less than one minute
- Stationary row machine for less than one minute
- Sleeping for 3 minutes
(Calculations are based on a 150-lb person.)
Oarweed also contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron and Potassium
Oarweed Fun Facts
- Oarweed is often referred to as luminaria digitata, tangle or tangleweed
- You can walk through Oarweed easily due to its location in shallow waters
- It can be slippery and the “fingers” or “ribbons” can get intertwined
- You can turn over an Oarweed rock to find lobster, crab, snail and/or worm species
- Look closely, and you’ll see starfish glide over the seaweed
- Some people substitute dried Oarweed pieces in place of lasagna noodles in their favorite recipes
If you’re ready to improve your health, check your seaweed supplement and make sure that Oarweed is on the ingredients list!