Harvest, Prepare and eat kelp Leaves

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Kelp leaves are delicious if you know how to prepare! From the floating bulb the leaves that trail off on the current grow very fast in the summer and are tender and delicious. It is legal to harvest with a shellfish/seaweed gathering permit. Does not kill the plant. Approach the kelp stand in your dink with a bucket, boat hook and long sharp knife. Pull the floating leaves close to your gunnel with the boat hook, cut off the leaves of the rooted plant leaving the first 24 inches from the bulb intact for future growth. The remaining leaves are 4 to 6 feet long. Sever and discard the oldest part of the leaves which get chewed up and tough as they age.

Take your bucket of leaves in the galley and cut into manageable 4 to 6 inch sections with scissors. Boil a half gallon of water for the blanching process. Dip the sections very briefly using tongs. Two things happen immediately – the color changes from dark green to an appetizing light green as the brown algae cells die, and all the slime coating vanishes. No further cooking needed. The vegetable that is left gives a satisfying squeak on the teeth and is tender. Very healthy and good for the digestion.

Ideas for eating –

Place a small ball of rice and a piece of smoked salmon or other seafood in the middle of a kelp leaf section. Roll it up, dip in soy sauce and pop in your mouth like sushi. This is addictive!

Chop into small strips and serve with soy sauce or seasoned rice vinegar. Garnish with a pinch of toasted sesame seeds. A small salad like this is five bucks in a sushi joint.

Add to ramen or asian noodle dishes.

The blanched leaves last a week in the fridge or, if seasoned rice vinegar is added to the container, they become mildly pickled and last a month or more, retaining a nice mild flavor. Can also be frozen.

If you have the time and patience the blanched leaves can be hung on a thin monofilament line in the sun and will dry to a thin papery texture that keeps well and will instantly reconstitute in hot water.

Please post any additional seaweed recipe ideas you have.

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