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Forget Nori: Laverbread is the seaweed to savour

The Ecologist

14th February, 2011

Parsons Pickles' Welsh laverbread might not look particularly promising but it does pack a seriously nutritious punch

Black, slimy and salty-smelling; while laverbread doesn’t look too appetising, its unpromising appearance hides a plethora of nutritional goodies. Similar to the Japanese Nori seaweed beloved of slimmers everywhere, laverbread is an old-fashioned Welsh delicacy and is still regularly collected from rocky beaches along the west coast of the UK and southern Ireland. Packing a measly 10 calories per ounce, the salty black paste is high in protein and iodine, and contains vitamins A, B, B2, C and D.

While you can collect and make your own laverbread, it does involve 10 hours of cooking which makes buying it by far the easiest way to get a little seaweed in your supper. Along with local cockles and mussels, the Parsons family have been collecting and selling Taf estuary laverbread since 1947, so know what they’re doing when it comes to making seaweed taste good. It might not be quite as delicious as chocolate but its curious combination of bland and salty means it goes brilliantly with red meat and oily fish. Better still, as it’s totally wild and gathered by hand, you can tuck in, safe in the knowledge that it’s one of the greenest foods around. And with no flying involved, it knocks the socks off Nori.

Prepared laverbread, £15.90, www.parsonspickles.co.uk

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