Kombu (Saccharina japonica) is a greenish-brown algae that grows in sea water. It is the biggest species of seaweed and grow up to 6 meters in length and 30 centimeters in width. They grow naturally in in shallow and cold waters in such as Spain, France, China, Japan, Russia and Korea.
Kombu is a very popular ingredient in Asian cuisine.
Kombu is rich in Sodium, Potassium, Carbohydrates, fiber, Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B, iodine, iron, manganese, and copper.
Cultivating and Harvesting
Kombu needs sea water and sunlight. Large scale and commercial cultivation of this seaweed is followed in parts of Asia, Europe and the Americas along the sea coast. They also grow naturally in abundance along these 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 Dulse 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 Kombu
Kombu is an essential ingredient used in the Japanese cuisine. It is added to vegetables, soups, stocks, grains, beans, or stew dishes. It can also be pickled or deep-fried. Kombu can be dried and ground into a powder and can be used as a condiment in sandwiches, and salads.