What are Dulse Flakes and Why Should I Buy Them?
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.
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.
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;
- fluoride - good for teeth and bones
- 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!
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.
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.
More Dulse Recipes
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.
© 2011 Sarita Harbour