The Sea Vegetable Field Guide for the West Coast examines five species of sea vegetables, focusing on sustainable harvesting and culinary uses. This is a 20 page hand bound book, printed on transparencies with a solid white poly coated paper insert, plexiglass cover and fishing line stitching. The Sea Vegetable Field Guide is waterproof and can easily be carried to the beach, taken on a boat or wherever else it may be needed.
The need for food-producing farmland is increasing with the growth of the population, and by 2050 there will be an estimated number of 9 billion people inhabiting the earth. With a lack of land capable of providing nourishment for such a large population, scientists are searching for a more sustainable option. Dutch scientists believe they’ve found the answer by creating offshore seaweed farms. Not only does this eliminate the need of freshwater irrigation, these dark, leafy sea vegetables are nutrient-rich, containing high amounts of iodine, calcium and protein.
Although seaweed is part of the daily diet in Asian culture, it is overlooked in the majority of western kitchens. Seaweed has been used by coastal people around the world since prehistoric times. The Vikings would set fire to seaweed to extract the salt, Chileans used it for its medicinal values, and the Kwakwaka’wakw and Haida First Nations would make dried seaweed ‘cakes’ which they could chop up and throw into soups and stews at a later date. Current western culture uses seaweed in cosmetics, fertilizer and animal food, but overlooks the plant for it’s nutrient content and sustainability.When choosing a beach to harvest seaweed, it is important to consider the external factors which may impact the quality and edibility of the plant. Although all seaweed along the West Coast is edible by nature, seaweed found near cities and highly populated areas may contain high concentrations of metals such as lead, cadmium and copper. Before harvesting, assess the quality of the water by searching for nearby chemical or oil spills, industrial areas and anything that may contaminate the plant.
Seaweed and Kelp should be harvested directly from the rocks or ground which they grow. Never collect seaweed that has washed up on shore, as it may be rotting or contain increased amounts of metals.