For centuries and from Greenland to Chile, several seaweed species have been staple food for tribes inhabiting coastal areas. However, the current culinary use of seaweeds in the Americas, as well as in the Western world, is still rather anecdotal compared to that in Eastern countries. Most species are completely unexplored from the point of view of their gastronomic and nutritional potentials, since only about 150–200 species out of approximately 10,000 are commonly used in the cuisine of those Asian countries even with the longest tradition, and estimating on the high side this figure drops to just over a dozen in the Western world. In the Americas, very recently, seaweeds are being considered as part of avant-garde culinary activities or innovative gastronomy where so-called phycogastronomy is on the rise. Such culinary tendency eventually will permeate to other casual or midrange restaurants and also to home cuisine, as has already happened in Europe, contributing to the “popularization” of this wonderful and healthy marine produce.
Seaweed Consumption in the Americas
José Lucas Pérez-Lloréns, PhD, is a biologist and Full Professor of Marine Ecology at the University of Cádiz (Spain). His research extends from seagrass and seaweed ecology to aquaculture. In addition, he is interested in the culinary ethnology of seaweeds, including its use in avant-garde cuisine.
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José Lucas Pérez-Lloréns; Seaweed Consumption in the Americas. Gastronomica 1 November 2019; 19 (4): 49–59. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2019.19.4.49
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