Exploring the sea at the dining table Episode 3

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Hello Foldscopers!

Do you ever look at algae and think, “That looks yummy”?

By CSIRO, CC 表示 3.0

Well, I do. Maybe not when they are in their raw form, but I certainly do when they arrive at my dining table.

I eat all kinds of edible multicellular marine algae (seaweed) on a daily basis. Edible seaweeds play an important role in my diet as sources of magnesium, calcium, iron, and iodine. And there are many dishes in Japanese cuisine that feature seaweeds. It’s no wonder since Japan is an island country surrounded by the ocean!

 

 

Simmered hijiki with tofu and veggies
Mekabu seaweed with raw squid

 

 

 

 

 

 

For example, my favorites are the black, thin hijiki seaweed simmered in a stock and the stringy, sticky mekabu seaweed salad, shown above.

Even though I grew up eating these seaweeds, I realized I am not so familiar with them from a scientific/ecological perspective.

  1. What are their scientific names?
  2. Why are their colors so different?
  3. Which part of the algae am I eating?
  4. How different are their habitats?
  5. How big are they when they are alive in the ocean?
  6. How fast do they grow?

So I decided to take a look at them a bit closer to get to know them more because I got curious and it is important to know about your food.

In this post, I am going to answer my first question: What are their scientific names?

Hijiki and Mekabu both belong to the Class Phaeophyceae = brown algae

Hijiki – Sargassum fusiforme

  • Order Laminariales
  • Growing wild in rocky coastlines of China, Korea, and Japan

Mekabu – Undaria pinnatifida

  • Order Fucales
  • Native to Northeast Pacific, coastlines of Japan
  • Now found and considered invasive in Europe, North America, South America and Australasia
  • Source: https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/59979

In my next post, I will investigate the colors of these “brown” algae!

-Honomi

One Comment Add yours

  1. kim@bigblue says:

    Great post, Honomi!

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