Bladder Wrack (Fucus vesiculosus) is an algae that grows in sea water. It can grow up to a height of 3 feet and is usually found on the coasts of the Atlantic ocean, Pacific ocean, Baltic sea, and in some parts of Canada. These seaweeds are yellowish brown in color and have air-like sacs or bladders on the surface of the leaf.
This seaweed has been used for centuries in treatment for iodine deficiency, weight-loss, joint pain, skin-related ailments, digestive and urinary problems.
Bladder Wrack has a salty fish taste. It is rich in Iodine, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, and other essential minerals and compounds.
Cultivating and Harvesting
Bladder Wrack needs sea water and sunlight. Large scale and commercial cultivation of this seaweed is being researched. However Bladder Wrack naturally grows in abundance along the coastlines.
Harvesters generally harvest them from their natural habitat. The best time to harvest is at low tide. Harvesters wade into the shallow waters and cut the sea weed.
Harvesting is done using using scissors or garden clippers. Pulling of the seaweed from the base is not recommended. Harvesters cut off only about half the size of the seaweed. This allows Bladder Wrack to grow back.
Usually, after a big storm, piles of fresh seaweed are washed ashore. Harvesters collect these and use them for food and medicine.
Consuming and Storing Bladder Wrack
Bladder Wrack can be eaten raw or cooked. It has a salty, fish-like umami taste. It is also dried, powdered and stored. In some traditions, it is brewed as tea, and is called Bladder Wrack tea.