Saturday, 8 November 2014

Garlic... whoops I mean Pepper Dulse.

Pepper Dulse

Pepper dulse is one of, if not the most fiddly seaweed to harvest. The tiny red fronds resemble ferns; it's a pretty and delicate seaweed. This begs the question of how harvesters can pick it sustainably. Equipped with nail scissors, I snip the tiny ferns with care but will always find the odd particle of rock or shell that a frond has attached its hold fast to, in my bag. On returning to the kitchen I  feel hugely guilty but the task of the pepper dulse picker is laborious. Pepper dulse is however, easy to wash and dries well. It is one of my stalwart kitchen store cupboard sprinklers. Its flavour is strong, so less is often more and of course, dried pepper dulse is more powerful than fresh. Red seaweeds are water soluble, so pepper dulse makes a colourful as well as piquant stock.

Mussels Cooked in Pepper Dulse and Butter
I mentioned to Sally McKenna author of the excellent  Extreme Greens - Understanding Seaweeds that I was anxious that readers of this blog might become weary  of my Outer Hebridean seaweed escapades. Sally graciously suggested otherwise, and today foraging pepper dulse I realised how fortunate I am. For lunch, we ate mussels in pepper dulse butter and mopped up the juices with laver sourdough. Simple local food. Cooked within an hour - from rock to plate.
The Seaweed Harvester

A wetsuit is useful in winter. I cram scissors and a phone in a ski bumbag from which, I hang bags - so I am  hands free for picking seaweed.

Today's harvest: Carrageen, Sea Lettuce and Pepper Dulse

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