Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 29: Surprise Grubbings

I just ate the best snack ever, roasted Fucus. Kindom: Chromalveota, Phylum: Heterokontophyta, Class: Phaeophyceae, Order: Fucales, Family: Fucaeae, Genus: Fucus, Species; Fucus Vesiculosus.  Are you still wondering what I ate?
Seaweed! Homemade, roasted seaweed is an amazing snack. I gathered handfuls of rubbery, rabbit-ear shaped frons growing on stems attached to rocks at the low-water mark. After a good rinse to remove what looked like swimming potato bugs, I spread a layer of frons on a window screen, and placed the screen in a warm oven. Within a half of an hour, I had a terrific movie snack to replace my popcorn. The crispy curls of seaweed were bite-sized, flavorful, and naturally infused with sea salt.
Fucus is of the brown seaweed variety, and apart from being down right tasty, fucus is good for me. Known by the common name of Bladderwrack, focus has medicinal qualities as well as nutritional. Packed with iodine, Bladderwrack is homeopathically used to treat goiters and hypothyroidism (slow thyroid). I don’t have either problem, but I appreciate the boost of beta-carotene, bromine, potassium, and other essential nutrients. A cup of crisply roasted fucus contains about 55 calories, 0 fats, 60% of my daily potassium requirement, 9 carbs, 3 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein, 20% of my calcium, and 60% of my iron. These are nutritionally decent numbers, especially compared to my microwave popcorn habit.
Gathering seaweed couldn’t be easier. I stooped to cut a few handfuls on my way back to shore after gathering clams. I’ve eaten plenty of Nori seaweed wrapped around sushi-rolls, but I’d never harvested my own. I wasn’t sure what I was gathering, so I grabbed a small amount to take back to the house to identify. Now I wish I would have filled a bucket.
I pulled the food dryer down from the attic and got it cleaned up for future pickings. I’m waiting on the next low-tide for a major harvest of my new favorite snack. But this time, I’ll take the frons back out to the tide for a good rinse. Unfortunately, I captured a tiny hermit crab living among the frons. He lived a short while after the freshwater rinse, but I didn’t have seawater to put him back into. I only want to kill what I can eat, and he was too tiny. I know it is overly sentimental, and that no matter how softly I tread, my path will leave footprints. I just want my footprints to be gentle and well-placed.

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