Pigs hail the new kale!

Pacific dulse
United States (Oregon)

This pink superfood seaweed tastes just like bacon and is better for you than kale. High in minerals, vitamins, protein and antioxidants, could a fast-growing smoky-tasting ‘bacon of the sea’ turn you pig-free?

Researchers at Oregon State University have been pleasantly surprised to discover that a new strain of dulse, a succulent red seaweed they were initially breeding to feed abalone, tastes like bacon when fried. Having patented palmaria mollis, now researchers at Oregon State University Food Innovation Center are exploring means of growing it on a commercial scale for mainstream human consumption – and testing recipes for dulse veggie burgers, trail mix and even beer.

Dulse grows quickly and is an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. The superfood also has high protein content, with twice the levels found within kale. Traditionally found growing wild along the northern Pacific and Atlantic coastlines, it has been popular in traditional Irish, Icelandic and Scandinavian cooking due to its high protein content and umami flavour.

Seaweed is particularly interesting as a food crop due to its ability to thrive in waters with greater concentrations of carbon dioxide. Extracting nutrients such as CO2 from aquatic ecosystems, this ‘bacon of the sea’ can even reverse a nutrient imbalance in the water. Can a pig do that?

Adapted from a piece by Juliette Aplin for the Futures Centre.

Written by

Lisa Goldapple, Editor, Atlas of the Future (25 September 2015)

Project leader

Chuck Toombs, Professor, OSU College of Business

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