Thursday, 23 September 2010

a bit of fame at last

Featured Producer: Iain at Just Seaweed

Ever tried proper seaweed? Not the chopped fried cabbage you get in a Chinese restaurant, the real plant from the sea.
Full of essential vitamins we seem to ignore this great source of food. Luckily you can now buy it in the BigBarn MarketPlace from Iain on the Isle of Bute.
Born in Bute Iain retuned after years on the mainland and researched the product he could see through his sitting room window, seaweed, and tons of it.
The more research he did, the more he discovered about seaweed’s many uses, both for bathing and for eating. As well as the two edible varieties, Iain gathers two types of bathing seaweed: knotted or egg wrack and bladderwrack. Seaweed is naturally rich in vitamins, minerals and trace elements. In hot water, it turns a lovely spring green and releases a silky sort of gel into the water.

‘It’s very relaxing,’ Iain says. ‘People use it for soothing the symptoms of rheumatism, arthritis, psoriasis and eczema. They also like the softening effect it has on their skin and hair. When they try it, they come back and order again.’
Although seaweed gathering has been popular for centuries and is still practised in Ireland and Wales, Iain found very little evidence of it being done in Scotland nowadays, except for its use as fertiliser.

‘It seems to have all but died out and I don’t understand why,’ he says. ‘Seaweed’s benefits are becoming increasingly well known and this is a prime area for it. There are fast-flowing currents of seawater rushing in from the deep waters of the Sound of Arran twice a day and countless gallons of fresh rainwater run down from the mountains into the Kyles of Bute, so this is an ideal location. Fortunately for me, this is a designated seafood fishing area, too, so I know the water is pure because it is tested every three months by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.’
To try some seaweed on the plate, or in the bath, click here. And please let us know what you think.

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