There are so many ways to use seaweed. At the same time, it is amazing how little is known about seaweed! From ice cream to paint, beer to material, seaweed has so many benefits we are only just starting to understand. Seaweed is a very rich source of nutrients. It contains many vitamins and minerals, as well as proteins and carbohydrates, and is commonly called a superfood.
Agars and Carrageenans are derived from red seaweed. Agar is used in Petri dishes in science labs and even in modelling clay. As a natural products, seaweed derivatives are safer to use and and easier to decompose than chemical substitutes, so using seaweed is good for the environment as long as we use it in an informed and sustainable way that does not destroy ocean ecosystems.
Alginates are derived from brown seaweed. Uses of algae derivatives can vary from a binder for the flux for welding rods to a binder and thickening agent for animal food. They have several applications in cosmetics as a thickeners and moisture retainers. They help retain the colour of lipstick on the lip surface by creating a gel network. Toothpaste, paint and shampoo, all use alginates. Alginate is used in the printing of cotton jute and rayon. Even fireproof and waterproof clothing can be made from seaweeds.
Algal derivatives are used in a wide array of food products such as ice creams, jellies, lactic drinks and beer as thickening agents, gelling agents, emulsifiers, stabilisers and to generally improve the quality of food. Alginates are soluble in the stomach and are a suitable source of gelatin capsules for vegetarians. Alginate acids can be compounded into tablets to accelerate disintegration for faster release of medicinal components.
Using seaweed can be very beneficial and we want to support you in incorporating seaweed into your life. Some people are lucky enough to have friends and relatives who have used seaweed for years. Some people are doing scientific research in labs. Some people just embrace the new and get on and experiment like our ancestors did.
We have created #UseSeaweed on Twitter and a group on facebook where people can share how they are using seaweed through videos, photos and text. We have also created a Pinterest board of recipes using seaweed. If you have a seaweed recipe you would like to share, please email it to us at wildatlanticseagarden.com or send it through our social media accounts. If you have any questions we will post them to our FAQ page.