Sea Lettuce: gathering, drying and a salt caramel sauce (part 1)

Part 1: Gathering and Drying

Thousands of people stroll along the beach everyday and walk right past an array of edible plants and animals without realising they are missing out on a free meal.

rockpooling

One of these overlooked plants is Sea Lettuce (Ulva lactuca). Found all over the coast of Britain and the rest of the world, this bright green seaweed is not only extremely common, but incredibly nutritious! Containing magnesium, potassium,  calcium, vitamins A, B1, B12, C and over nine essential amino acids, I wouldn’t be surprised if this became one of the worlds next superfoods.

seaweed book

Collecting the Sea Lettuce

Check around the rock pools and shore around where you’re going to pick your Sea Lettuce to ensure there are no sewage outlets nearby. Break the Sea Lettuce half way down the plant to ensure the roots are still attached to the rock so it can regrow. I usually place it in a plastic tub once picked so I don’t lose it or get anything else wet.

sea lettuce gathering

Preparation and Drying

Before drying, It’s so easy to add flavour to the Sea Lettuce by simply chucking some flavours into it. lf you’re looking to eat Sea Lettuce as a snack, then this is a fantastic way to add variety to the sea lettuce. I’ve tried flavours from: chilli, sesame (use oil and seeds for most flavour), ginger, soy sauce, wasabi, salt and sugar.

Drying sea lettuce

There are several ways of drying sea lettuce.  If it is summer and the weather is hot, it is easy to sun dry.  If you are in a hurry for your wasabi seaweed snack or to make my delicious sea lettuce salt caramel sauce, try the oven method.  You can either go for the long and slow option, or the medium to high and fast option. If you decide on the latter, check each batch regularly – a minute can make the difference between crisp and emerald or burnt and brown.

Store in an airtight container if not using immediately.

apple-with-caramel

Coming soon: Part 2 (the best bit) making a sea lettuce salt caramel sauce
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