WHAT IS KELP?
In Western culture kelp has a bad reputation as a food source. This seaweed has long been thought to be more appropriate for fish then human beings. Shallow ocean beds that are rich in nutrients are necessary for it to survive. However once it starts, this algae can grow underwater to be over 200 feet tall. Kelp beds are literally underwater forests! Essential for the health of the ocean’s ecosystem, it has three parts the leaves, stem and then its roots. This algae can’t survive in waters warmer then 68 F (20 C) which as sea temperatures rises is a cause for concern for north Pacific ecosystems in particular.
WHERE DOES KELP COME FROM?
It first appeared around 60 million years ago during the Cenozoic era. Native to the Pacific ocean, over 30 varieties of this plant thrive on both coasts.
WHEN IS KELP IN SEASON?
Kelp is a perennial plant. But it still relies on photosynthesis to survive, making the clarity of the ocean water a crucial determinant in this plant’s growth. Winter and Spring tend to be the best of times of year for sunlight to reach into the undersea kelp canopies.
IS KELP JERKY A REAL THING?
It’s popularity as a food that aids in weight loss is well known. As vegan foods grow in popularity, kelp jerky has recently surged to the forefront of alternative foods. Tasty, affordable and high in protein, this snack might not be as macho as the real thing, but it’s definitely healthier!
IS KELP HEALTHY TO EAT?
It can absorb dangerous levels of heavy metals, in particular arsenic and lead. However this only occurs if this seaweed is grown in areas with dangerously high levels of heavy metal toxicity, similar to rice. But if grown in a healthy environment, it’s a very healthy food! Iodine in particular is one of this plant’s healthiest minerals. Naturally absorbed, iodine is thought to help the human body in regulating its metabolism. However kelp is also rich in Vitamins A and K, as well as calcium, iron and magnesium.