Seaweed

Since summer 2014, Catxalot has had workshops, walks and talks for a few hundred people each year who learned how to harvest the undiscovered resource from the ocean in a sustainable manner and how to use it in food and skin care.

Seaweeds are good, beautiful and useful. You can use seaweed in many different ways. Each variety has its taste, and when it is dried it gives a different character to the food than when it is fresh.

There is no dangerous or poisonous seaweed in Sweden. Catxalot harvests approximately 15 different species, always in flowing open water in Bohuslän on the north west coast. The best season for harvest is in the spring.

Here are our best books about seaweed. 

Seaweed foraging guide

We have written a Seaweed Guide (in Swedish so far but it will come in English soon) that you can buy in our webshop. It's a simple and water resistant when-to-do guide that describes how to pick up ten different Nordic edible seaweed species, when they are in season, what they contain and what to do with them. It is made of a special plastic paper, polyart, which is completely waterproof and recyclable according to category 2HDPE. Illustrations by Maj Persson. Graphic form by Rebecca Wessberg. The product can be recycled as hard plastic when the key ring has been removed.

Foraging seaweed

We only cut the parts that will be eaten and leave the rest intact to ensure regrowth, and that is also what we teach on our courses. It is a craft that is often performed in cold water. Wind and season completely control what supply we currently have.

When foraging seaweed, look for a place with as fresh water as possible. The water should move and it should preferably be in an exposed position. Just take the pieces you are going to eat. Leave the rest. Do not take too much. Shake off small animals from the seaweed plants you take home. Also, keep in mind that it often takes longer to take care of the seaweed at home than picking it, so do not pick too much for that reason too. There are a lot of organisms that live on and off seaweed, so the they are very important from a biological point of view. Half of the Earth's oxygen is produced by algae and seaweed.

Drying seaweed

Hang the seaweed on a washing line, on a grid, a fabric, in a drying oven, in a drying stand or in a normal oven with about 40 degree C heat. The seaweed should be completely dry when packing it in an airtight box, glass jar, paper bag with foil inside or other packaging. Stored dark and cool/at room temperature it lasts for a few years, at least.

Bladderwrack

Harvest spring and summer. Cut the outermost peaks. Cook. Cool in ice cold water. Contains vitamins A, C, E, K, and iodine, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, zinc, bromine, copper. Nutrition chart.

Rockweed

Cut/nip the small bladders on the side of the stem. You see them early in the spring. Cut off top tips in late spring and summer. Boil 10-20 min. Marinate or fry. Mix in salads etc. Contains calcium, potassium, sodium, iodine, magnesium, phosphorus, iodine, manganese, copper, chromium, zinc, vitamin B2, B3, C.

Sweet kombu

Harvest early spring to early summer. Contains vitamins A, B, C, E, and bromine, iodine, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, chromium, copper. Most vitamin C in the spring. Nutrition chart. Note! Contains quite a lot of iodine, so do not eat too much. Max about 1 teaspoon dried milled per day.

Oarweed

Harvest spring and summer. Cut a piece but leave the lower pat of the plant so that it can grow up again. Fry in butter, oil or coconut oil. Good to wok. Wrap in fish and grill. Contains vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B, and calcium, iodine, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, chromium and copper. Nutrition chart. Note! Contains quite a lot of iodine, so do not eat too much. Max about 1 teaspoon dried milled per day.

Sea lettuce

Harvest spring and early summer. Leave the holdfast and a small piece of seaweed so that it can grow up and multiply. Contains iron, protein, iron, vitamin A, B1, C, potassium, magnesium, calcium. Contains most vitamin C in the late summer. Nutrition chart.

Gutweed

Harvest spring, summer and autumn. Cut off so that the holdfast and a piece of the seaweed remain and can grow up again. Rinse thoroughly. Good to fry, fry or use raw in, for example, salads. Contains protein, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, vitamins A and B. Nutrition chart.

Laver

Harvest winter and spring. Cut off so that the holdfast and a piece of the seaweed remain and can grow up and multiply. Good to fry. Contains protein, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K.

Dead mans´s rope

Harvest spring/summer. Best to eat fresh. Use it raw or cook with spaghetti. Prepare it by dragging it through your fingernails to remove the fine hairs on the side of it. Contains iodine, bromine, manganese.

Irish moss

Harvest spring/summer. Use as thickener. Contains vitamin A, B, C, D, iron, magnesium, selenium, iodine, calcium, bromine. Nutrition chart.

Dulse

Hard to find in Sweden as it grows quite deep down. Good to fry. Soak dried dulse quick and use as a salad. Fry in butter on low heat (good on pizza). Good with chocolate. Contains protein as well as vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, A, C, E, potassium, magnesium, beta carotene, iron, zinc. Nutrition chart. (photo: Catxalot)

Serrated wrack

Harvest early spring for food, and later when it has knotted tips for bath.