Ryan Drum

Island Herbs

P O Box 25, Waldron, WA 98297-0025

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Bullwhip Kelp (Nereocystis leutkeana):

The World's Tastiest and Easiest Kelp To Eat


This scrumptious easy to eat beautiful green annual kelp grows only in moving cold water of the Northeast Pacific Ocean, from northern California north to southeast Alaska. 

It forms dense 'kelp forests' in areas of fast currents usually in channels between the islands. Its long strong stipes grow from attached holdfasts on rocky seafloors at depths of up to 100 feet. Its many 6-12 inch wide thick tender leaves grow out of a large hollow bulb at the top of each solitary stipe; these leaves can grow to 60 feet in length. The bulb is filled with Carbon Monoxide for flotation.

Only the leaves are harvested, very carefully, one at a time by hand; the leaves are not rinsed, but do drain off all of their surface seawater as they dry in full sun hanging from stainless wire for 6-8 hours. Any salt or salty taste on this kelp comes from within the kelp, and, is predominantly Potassium, rather than sodium. The leaves' mineral content is 25-50%; they contain all necessary trace elements.

This kelp can be eaten and enjoyed as is; it can also be added to salads, soups, baked or steamed vegetables, oatmeal, and any cooked dish from cookies to pancakes to scrambled eggs to ice cream.

This particular batch was harvested from a cluster of small uninhabited islands near the US-Canada border.

This kelp is very sensitive to moisture. To keep it from becoming less crunchy or even damp, it MUST BE STORED IN COMPLETELY AIRTIGHT CONTAINERS. because of its very high mineral content it is extremely hygroscopic; it will pull moisture out of seemingly dry air if left out. The plastic bag in which this kelp was shipped is no longer airtight. Many small holes were punched through the plastic bag by the sharp dry kelp pieces.

 When this kelp becomes even a trifle moist, it can be easily dried placed in an open pan in a low (110-140oF) heat oven for about 30 minutes. Use or store quickly. ENJOY !!

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Articles | 2014 Workshops | Island Herbs Order Form (pdf) | Contact Ryan

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P O Box 25, Waldron, WA 98297-0025
Updated 03.04.2014

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