Where The Land Meets The Sea
I grew up playing on some of the most pristine beaches in the world. I was very familiar with the spiny sea urchins, deep purple sea anemones, striped limpets, tiny crabs and starfish of the rock pools, and the multicoloured seaweed strewn across sands left behind by the changing tides. Seafood and fish were in plentiful supply and even as very young children we would feast from large silver platters of Fruits des Mer on ice, meticulously picking winkles from their shells with pins, cracking crab legs and eating oysters served directly off the boats. Spider crabs were often to be found invading our door steps after an afternoon boat trip to St Malo and back. This nurtured a deep appreciation in the gifts of the sea.
In Jersey, seaweed harvesting occurred annually and we would all know it was happening due to the overwhelming stench that would follow us where ever we went. Whilst it had been widely recognised for centuries for its mineral properties it was reserved for the purposes of replenishing the land and future crops, for chasing your friends with on the beach or as colourful decoration in the fish markets. I recall my grandmother elegantly perched upon a rock on the edge of a fresh rock pool telling me of dishes she had eaten in the Hebrides where seaweed is widely used and of Queen Victoria who had a fascination and encouraged research into British seaweeds.
For anyone living next to the sea, its virtually impossible to ignore the contribution the sea is to our health and wellbeing. Unlike land based farming, the resources of the sea have remained relatively untapped beyond fishing and the use of seaweed to feed crops. With the acknowledgement that a more nutrient dense diet and lifestyle can combat and balance the pollutants of contemporary life, there has been a notable resurrection of cottage industries based where the land meets the sea, and a diverse and plentiful supply of hand harvested seaweeds and associated products.
Asides from its capacities for healing and repair, I love seaweed. Its delicious, nutritious and totally versatile, and widely used in our kitchen and bathrooms. Now hailed a western superfood with celebrity status, its many edible and highly nutritious forms, structures and varieties are widely available in shops and online, seaweed books and recipes are abundant, and DIY foraging is considered uber cool.
Some of our favourite seaweed things:
Seaweed face and body mask
In a dry bowl, mix together ground seaweed and zeolite in a ratio of 7:3. Store in mason jar. Using a couple of heaped tablespoons of the powder mix, add filtered water a little at a time and a couple of drops of your favourite essential oil until you have a thick fine paste. Apply to your face and body using a pastry brush and allow to dry. This will pull pollution and debris from your skin and nourish your body with revitalising minerals. Rinse with warm water.
We use foraged Pembrokeshire seaweed ground in a coffee grinder mixed with Zeolite Powder see here. If you can’t get to the beach, find alternative sources to use straight from the packet or to grind yourself by searching online. See Resources for ideas.
Superpowers Salad with Seaweed
A delicious organic green salad with shoots, sprouts and flowers, with a nutritious and tasty seaweed topping and dressing. See recipe here.