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Bacon Of The Sea

It tastes like bacon . . . but it’s good for you. A group of researchers at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon have discovered a new health food that tastes like bacon. The team from OSU has a new, patented type of dulse.


Dulse/Image: AsianHealthSecrets

Dulse, which looks like translucent red lettuce, is a strain of seaweed that grows wild along both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Originally designed 15 years ago as food for abalone by Chris Langdon and co-workers at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, it is currently a noteworthy food specifically raised for Asian markets.

Dulse is high in nutritional value. It is rife with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. When dried it has a protein content as high as 16 percent. More recently, however, researchers learned that when fried it tastes like bacon.

Langdon opined: “It’s pretty good. I’m not sure if it’s exactly like bacon — for those who love bacon, those fatty edges that get all crispy, it doesn’t have that. But it’s probably as good a bacon substitute as you’re going to get. I think it’s got a lot of potential.”

The OSU group’s patented dulse strain, named C3, reportedly grows quickly. It garnered a second look as food, however, Chuck Toonbs, an OSU business professor, was searching for potential future student projects.

While some health food stores in the US already stock wild-harvested dulse which is dried and sold as a nutritional supplement or cooking ingredient for up to $90 per pound, Toombs and Langdon believe OSU’s C3 has aquaculture potential which would not only reduce the cost and make it more readily available to consumers.

Langdon admits that dulse might require some clever marketing to really sell it here in the US. He concludes: “A lot of people are hesitant about eating seaweed,” he said. “We’re trying to relabel it as a sea vegetable. I think that sounds a little better.”

Bacon Of The Sea

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.