A wide variety of fresh sea vegetables are now sold packaged and ready-to-eat; you can also find them dried, often in the bulk section of natural foods stores. If stored in opaque airtight containers, dried sea vegetables should maintain their nutritional value for a year or longer. The following is a list of commonly found varieties.
Arame / A mild-tasting seaweed that cooks quickly. Try adding arame to stir fries, salads, or soups.
Dulse / This reddish-purple variety of seaweed cooks in about five minutes. Its salty flavor makes it perfect for sauces or as a chewy snack.
Hiziki / After soaking for 10 minutes, hiziki can be added to soups and stews to lend a rich, nutty flavor.
Kelp (Kombu) / Often sold in dried sheets or powders, kelp is one of the most versatile of the seaweeds. Try powdered kelp on popcorn or add it to soups to create a thick stock.
Laver (pronounced lay-ver) / Also available in dried sheets, this seaweed takes on a sweet, nutty taste when toasted. Try adding toasted laver to grain dishes or eat with spreads.
Nori / Used to make the shiny green sheets that are the wrapper for sushi rolls, nori is the best known seaweed in the United States. It also makes a delicious snack right out of the bag.
Sea Palm / With a mild flavor and a fettuccinelike appearance, sea palm is one of the more exotic sea vegetables. After presoaking, sea palm can be used in salads or soups, or it can be eaten on its own.
Wakame / Traditionally used in miso soup, wakame has a dark brown color and mild flavor. It is wonderful when marinated and tossed in a salad.