Scientists from the Oregon State University (OSU) have recently patented a new variety of seaweed called dulse that has been used to create several types of foods, one of which is said to taste like bacon.
The seaweed variety, dulse, from which a food item has been created that tastes like bacon when fried. Photo credits: Oregon State University.
Dulse is an edible seaweed that grows as a wild plant on Pacific and Atlantic coastlines. It is commonly used in dried form as a cooking ingredient or as a supplement for nutrients.
Scientists have been putting their efforts together to developing a new strain of dulse for over a decade. They initially wanted to create a super food for a commercially-grown mollusc prized in Asia.
The researchers state that the variety in question can be farmed and eaten fresh. It might even be launched on the market. Their strain of dulse resembles translucent red lettuce. It is a great source of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. It grows quickly and has lots of proteins. Furthermore, its nutritional value is described as being two times that of kale. The mollusc for which it was initially developed, the abalone, grew extremely quickly when fed with the dulse.
New foods were then created with the dulse – dulse-based rice cracker and salad dressing, as well as bacon-tasting strips – by a product development team at OSU’s Food Innovation Center. The researchers then entertained the idea of using the seaweed variety for humans. The “bacon” strips were fried like normal bacon to release the flavour.
The team of scientists thereafter received a grant from the Oregon Department of Agriculture to potentially use the dulse variety as a “specialty crop”. The service of a culinary research chef was sought by the team to bring out more recipes and products. Students from OSU are currently preparing a marketing plan for dulse-based specialty foods. They are also thinking of the possibility of launching a new aquaculture industry.
“The dulse grows using a water recirculation system,” said OSU researcher Chris Langdon, who developed the strain.
“Theoretically, you could create an industry in eastern Oregon almost as easily as you could along the coast with a bit of supplementation. You just need a modest amount of seawater and some sunshine.”