The Marine Meadow

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“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea,

whether it is to sail or to watch-we are going back from whence we came”

John F. Kennedy

Welcome To The Marine Meadow

Humans have always been drawn to the sea. It’s awe-inspiring and mysterious vastness is absolutely brimming with vibrant life under the surface. Amongst all of this sea life is one constant, the marine meadow of seaweed. With literally countless different subspecies, seaweed is prevalent in many different marine environments and has been used by different cultures for centuries. Living as a peninsula nation, Koreans have used edible seaweed for hundreds of years as an essential ingredient in food, medicine, and even cosmetics. Its rich nutrition, multiple health benefits, and overall abundance have established seaweed as a mainstay in Korean culture and cuisine. 
Edible seaweed is subdivided into three main categories based on their color ranging from green, red, and brown. 
Koreans recognize good seaweed from its fresh seawater aroma and its naturally salty, briny, sweet and well-developed umami flavor that captures the taste of the sea. Used in a variety of dishes from bibimbap to salads, seaweed is a quintessential Korean ingredient. In fact, Korean seaweed salad is a signature favorite in many Korean households and restaurants alike. 
Korean-style seaweed typically features a wide variety of different seaweed subspecies which may include: 
  • Wakame Seaweed
  • Dark Green Seaweed
  • Dark Red Seaweed
  • Agar
  • Kelp
  • Seaweed Stem
  • Korean Red Algae 
  • Sea Grapes AKA Sea Caviar

The Superfood of the Sea 

Seaweed is absolutely packed with health benefits and essential nutrients including Vitamin B6., iodine. magnesium, iron, protein, riboflavin, dietary fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and detoxifiers. In fact, seaweed has approximately 10X the amount of calcium than cow's milk! This is largely because due to its diverse marine environment across multiple oceans, seaweed is constantly absorbing essential trace vitamins and minerals found in natural seawater. 

Seaweed itself is almost identical in chemical composition to human blood plasma! What’s amazing is that this trait allows the seaweed to actually alkalize our blood, meaning it can neutralize acidity caused by consuming animal products. 

Seaweed is also significantly high in iodine, which helps keep the thyroid gland stimulated and healthy. The thyroid gland is extremely important to your overall health as it regulates your body’s metabolism and helps maintain healthy body weight. 

The Superfood of the Sea 

Koreans love using thicker and darker species of seaweed such as kelp in their seaweed salad “Miyeok Muchim” for its rich nutrition and deep savory flavor.  Kelp, in particular, is an excellent source of xylose, an essential sugar (polysaccharide) that boasts anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that aid in preventing colon cancer.  Kelp also contains fucose, another polysaccharide that acts as an antiviral, preserving and enhancing long-term memory while fighting allergies. 

While Western diets often fail to provide these essential sugars (polysaccharides), Korean and other Asian cuisines are abundant with them due to the wide variety of dishes featuring native seaweed and kelp. According to an article by CalorieBee,

it's why populations that feature seaweed in their diets like Korea and Japan have very low levels of: 

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes 
  • Alzheimer's Disease

If all that is still not enough, seaweed also helps prevent cancer! Seaweed has multiple cancer-fighting properties but the most important one is lignans. Lignans are phytoestrogens that actively stop blood cell growth by acting as an antioxidant and cutting off the blood flow to potential tumors or cancerous growths. Seaweed also prevents heart disease thanks to its high content of folic acid and magnesium which actively lowers high blood pressure and averts heart attacks. 

Seaweed Salad Magic!

One of the easiest and tastiest ways to get seaweed integrated into your diet is fresh seaweed salad! This salad requires good-quality seaweed to achieve its vinegar, refreshing, and rich umami flavor. High-quality natural seaweed has a tender yet firm texture with a slippery, chewy, and sometimes even crunchy bite. Koreans throughout history have used traditional techniques to dry their seaweed for winter storage while simultaneously preserving its natural nutrients and intensifying its flavor. To rehydrate simply soak for 5-10 minutes in cold water or until adequately rehydrated to its original form. Most Korean “Miyeok Muchim” or seaweed salad include sweet, tangy, roasted and toasted flavors from rich, flavor-intensive ingredients like sugar, rice vinegar, toasted sesame seeds, and black sesame oil.

These bold flavors are balanced and highlighted by the intense, natural taste of the sea from the seaweed and kelp. Perfect for busy modern people who need a quick meal, mothers recovering from pregnancy, and overall health for children, adults, and the elderly! Korean folklore claims that their ancestors learned from watching whales eating seaweed after giving birth. Talk about an amazing discovery of this wonderfully delicious and nutritious superfood! 

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