Close your eyes and imagine a guilt free kind of bacon, a plant that has that delightful bacon taste but comes completely meat and fat free. Now open your eyes, because scientists have discovered a seaweed that tastes like bacon.
And believe it or not, that is actually not its most impressive feature. This wonder seaweed is also a super-food, because it’s packed with all sorts of vitamins and minerals, it has excellent antioxidant features and it is a perfect source of protein. In its dried form, the bacon seaweed is 16% pure protein.
It is called dulse and it has been around for quite some time now, as it grows wild on the coasts of the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean. And despite the fact that locals have been using it by drying it, chopping it up and adding it to their food for many many years, its true potential has remained unknown until Oregon State University’s Chris Langdon came around.
The Fish and Wildlife expert was studying an efficient way of growing high quality abalone, because locals are extremely keen on it. As he observed that the dulse was an amazing food source for the sea snails, because they were growing faster and stronger on it, he began thinking how the seaweed would be as a human food source.
Since then, he has created his very own dulse strain, that is the perfected version of the original seaweed species. He has patented this amazing discovery and with the help of his OSU colleagues from the Faculty of Business and the Food Innovation Center, they plan to turn dulse into Oregon’s key product. It would be completely new in America and it could become the nation’s favorite vegetable.
“Dulse is a super-food, with twice the nutritional value of kale, (…) And OSU had developed this variety that can be farmed, with the potential for a new industry for Oregon.” said OSU’s Faculty of Business professor Chuck Toombs.
The OSU team have even brought in a chef who specializes in seaweed dishes among other delicious food and he is there to introduce the dulse into the best dishes that can bring out its amazing flavor.
The plant is called Palmaria palmata and it is a red seaweed species, that has the unique quality of having a bacon-like taste when it is smoked, grilled or fried. It has a red lettuce appearance and it has crunchy texture, which make it even more like the beloved crispy bacon.
From here on, the OSU team will most likely have to get a long series of approvals before they can sell the dulse to the general public, but when dulse hits the American markets, salads and vegetarian dishes will never be the same again. The bacon seaweed has the potential to revolutionize American cooking, because it could make fat-free meals with bacon flavor a possibility.
It remains to be seen when the dulse will make it on the shelves of a supermarket near you, but when it is bound to be a tremendous nation-wide success.
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