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What are Dulse Flakes and Why Should I Buy Them?

Updated on September 20, 2017
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Sarita Harbour is the owner of An Off Grid Life, a homeschooling WAHM, and a writer living off the grid in Yellowknife, NWT.

What is Dulse?

Palmaria Palmata, or dulse as it is commonly known, is a red seaweed that grows wild in the cold waters of the Northwest Pacific Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean. An edible seaweed with shades ranging from red to dark purple, dulse is characterized by its unique color and the way it grows on the face of rocks and boulders. The first recorded use of seaweeds such as dulse flakes in North America was in the early 1600's when it was offered to scurvy-ridden European sailors by the native Indians of the East Coast of Canada. Writings from approximately 600 AD tell of St. Columba and the monks of Iona eating it.

Long used as a cooking ingredient, snack food, and medicinal treat, dulse is painstakingly harvested by hand during a short summer season from June through October. Once it has been scoured for shells and debris and dried in the sun it is ready to be flaked, powdered, or just packed and shipped. The best dulse comes from Atlantic Canada and is sought after by gourmands and alternative health followers world-wide.

What are dulse flakes?
What are dulse flakes? | Source
Dulse flakes can be used in baking.
Dulse flakes can be used in baking. | Source

Forms of Dulse

Dulse is available in a variety of forms for eating, cooking, and even baking.

  • Fresh dulse - for snacking
  • Dehydrated dulse- can be used in soups and stews, eaten as a snack food, can be stored easily for several months
  • Dulse flakes for baking and cooking
  • Powdered dulse for baking, cooking, stirred into liquids to drink. Try adding a teaspoon to a smoothie, or sprinkling it over bread or pizza dough prior to baking.

Dulse can be stirred into teas or as an ingredient in medicinal tinctures, and dulse powder is also found in capsule form in health food stores and from alternative medicine practitioners. It tastes salty, and can be sprinkled over salads, on cooked potatoes or on chowders to add flavour.

Dulse is a red seaweed.
Dulse is a red seaweed. | Source

Health Benefits of Dulse

Dulse is an excellent source of:

  • protein - provides anywhere from 16 - 28 percent of the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) depending on the variety;
  • potassium
  • fluoride - good for teeth and bones
  • zinc
  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • iron
  • beta carotene
  • iodine - regulates the thyroid gland, metabolism and assists with weight loss
  • dietary fibre - helps with constipation, makes you feel fuller longer and also helps with weight loss
  • source of chlorophyll - helps reduce bad bread, foul-smelling urine and feces
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin B6 - 1/3 of a cup provides over 100 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance
  • vitamin B12 - 1/3 of a cup provides over 66 percent (2/3s) of the RDA
  • vitamin C - for immunity
  • vitamin E - for skin, hair, energy!

Dulse and Pear Salad is delicious and healthy!
Dulse and Pear Salad is delicious and healthy! | Source

Possible Side Effects

As dulse grows wild in inter-tidal areas of Canada, Iceland, China, Japan and Ireland, and parts of Scandinavia, it is easily picked by hand along the coast and beaches. USE CAUTION if you choose to pick dulse from areas near towns, cities, and industries, as dangerous waste and chemicals could be present as contaminants.

Dulse flakes can be used in cooking.
Dulse flakes can be used in cooking.

Buying Dulse and Storing It

Dulse is readily available in health food stores, organic grocery stores, and from alternative health practitioners and naturopaths. Increasingly it is available online direct from the manufacturer. Dried dulse, powdered dulse, and dulse flakes should be stored in a container with a tight fitting lid and kept in a cool, dry place such as a pantry. Fresh and recently cooked dulse should be refrigerated and used within three days.

BLD Sandwich Recipe

Use dulse in place of bacon in this new healthy twist on an old favourite - the BLT or Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich. Lightly toast two slices of your favourite whole grain or multi-grain bread. Spread lightly with a little butter or organic mayonnaise, layer with tomato slices and dark leaf lettuce and quick-fried dulse (pan-fry a handful in extra virgin olive oil or organic grapeseed oil). If you prefer, toast the dulse in a toaster oven for about 7 minutes to crisp it.Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper. Serve with a tall glass of organic milk, soy milk or almond milk for a well-rounded meal. Have a small piece of dark chocolate for dessert to celebrate being so good to yourself!

DAT Sandwich Recipe

Dulse as a Natural Body Scrub

Sea vegetables such as dulse are often used in bath salts, body creams and cosmetic exfoliants. Looking for a homemade natural body scrub to exfoliate and make your skin glow? Try the following recipe:

Organic Dulse Body Scrub

1/4 cup organic grapeseed oil

2 teaspoons dulse powder

1 drop essential oil of your choice for fragrance ie. lavender, rose, orange.

Mix all ingredients to form a paste, adding grapeseed oil gradually to desired consistency. Scrub over body, rinse with warm water. Discard unused portion. Note: dulse has a strong sea scent that some find unpleasant, so test this recipe prior to using it before a special evening or big event!

Dulse in Ireland

Dulse has been used in Ireland for hundreds of years, and recently dulse farms have sprung up to supply the increasing demand for dulse from health food stores, natural food stores, and gourmet restaurants worldwide. Known by the name Dillisk, it is most commonly eaten as a snack food and available in pubs and corner stores.

Some of the best dulse in the world is found on Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy off the east coast of Canada.

A markerDark Harbour, Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick -
Dark Harbour, Grand Manan, NB, Canada
get directions

© 2011 Sarita Harbour


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    • Dusty Snoke profile image

      Dusty Snoke 6 years ago from Chattanooga, TN

      Very interesting. I might try it as a replacement for salt also. thanks for sharing

    • Avamum profile image

      Sarita Harbour 6 years ago from Yellowknife, Canada

      Hi AliciaC - yes, dulse has a salty flavour. I have heard of people sprinkling the flakes on french fries and scrambled eggs too. Thanks for stopping by!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I enjoyed reading your hub. The nutrient list was very useful. I sprinkle dulse and kelp granules and flakes on food instead of salt. They add a nice flavor and I like their nutritional benefits.

    • Avamum profile image

      Sarita Harbour 6 years ago from Yellowknife, Canada

      Gigi,it is my pleasure!

    • profile image

      Gigi Thibodeau 6 years ago

      Wow, I've eaten dulse before, but I didn't know just how useful and nutritious it is. Thanks for this informative hub!

    • Avamum profile image

      Sarita Harbour 6 years ago from Yellowknife, Canada

      Middlespecialist - I hadn't heard of dulse either until I read about it in a book about Canadian organic farmers. Glad you enjoyed the hub - I really enjoyed researching it!

    • Avamum profile image

      Sarita Harbour 6 years ago from Yellowknife, Canada

      Thanks for the comment, RTalloni. Dulse is one of the lesser known seaweeds in North America, but is slowly gaining in popularity.

    • Middlespecialist profile image

      Middlespecialist 6 years ago

      I have never hear of dulse! Will have to look for it at store. Thanks for the interesting hub!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      So glad to learn about dulse from such a well done hub. Voted up. Looking forward to one of those sandwiches made with Irish dulse.