We produce only small quantities of seaweed products, often getting more pleasure than money from the process! We live in a converted boathouse on the Ring of Beara on the Atlantic coast of South West Ireland . The sea is close by and plays a central role in our lives, providing us with fish, mussels, cockles, shrimps and, of course, seaweed. We use seaweed as a fertilizer on the land for our small vegetable and fruit garden.
Water quality is vitally important. All our sea vegetables are harvested from the Atlantic in Coulagh Bay which is free from pollution and has no industry based around it. Not all the seaweed we collect is suitable for human consumption. Instead of throwing the material away we use it to produce extracts for use as insecticides and leaf fertilisers and one which has an enriched auxin content.
All the seaweed we use for our food products is freshly cut then dried and milled or fermented. We have used it for making beer as well but stopped because we now prefer the wine we can make. Everything we make we use ourselves and simply sell the excess.
The sea vegetables we use are Kelp or Laminaria, Palmatina or Dulse, Wild Nori, Irish moss, Ulva or Sea Lettuce and Rockweed.
You can eat seaweed as a vegetable, use it milled and sprinkle it on food, add it to cereals or mix it with flour. Seaweed can also be used for decoration or as a replacement for salt. Kelp, Dulse and lettuce are excellent as salt replacements and provide a very simple method to enrich your meals.
When we harvest seaweed it contains a lot of water. After drying the net weight is reduced to approximately 10%. One kilo of dried kelp is equal 10 kilos fresh, so if you use it dry do not use it in large quantities.