Researchers at Oregon State University found a way to get people interested in eating seaweed. And all they had to do was spend 15 years breeding a new strain that tastes like bacon.
For a decade and a half, a team of scientists in Oregon has been working with dulse, a type of red marine sea algae. Dulse is already harvested in the wild and used as food or a nutritional supplement in parts of Northern Europe, but OSU thinks a new strain of they’ve created can bring this algae to the next level. “This stuff is pretty amazing,” said Chris Langdon, a researcher at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. “When you fry it, which I have done, it tastes like bacon, not seaweed. And it’s a pretty strong bacon flavor.”
Beyond just sea-bacon-y goodness, dulse contains other desirable properties as well. “Dulse is a super-food, with twice the nutritional value of kale,” said Chuck Toombs, a faculty member at OSU’s College of Business. “And OSU had developed this variety that can be farmed, with the potential for a new industry for Oregon.”
With the help of research chef Jason Ball, the team at OSU already has some ideas for commercial uses for their dulse. They plan to start with salad dressing but with the amount of bacon-flavored everything on the market now there will be no shortage of possibilities. Unfortunately, they’ve not quite reached the stage where you can serve up a slab of seaweed on a bacon cheeseburger but, according to Oregon Live, they’re hoping to find a way to get raw versions of the strain in restaurants soon. So keep an eye out for eggs and seaweed on Oregon breakfast menus.