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Bacon-Flavored Seaweed More Nutritious Than Kale Is The Next Foodie Craze

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Scientists say they've created a strain of seaweed that, when fried, tastes just like bacon. Sure, we'll believe it when we taste it.Oregon State University researchers announced earlier this week they've patented a strain of seaweed, known as dulse, that not only tastes good, but also packs more nutrients in it than kale. Originally developed to feed abalones for commercial harvesting, it naturally took a capitalist to see the potential for human use and the opportunity to cash in on it. "Dulse is a super-food, with twice the nutritional value of kale," said Chuck Toombs of OSU's College of Business. "And OSU had developed this variety that can be farmed, with the potential for a new industry for Oregon."

Dulse is packed full of goodies like minerals, vitamins and antioxidants and is up to 16% protein by dry weight. The red algae is already eaten throughout the North Atlantic—in Iceland it is known as söl where it's eaten with butter, put in soups or baked into bread.

"In Europe, they add the powder to smoothies, or add flakes onto food," said OSU researcher Chris Langdon, who has been growing the dulse for 15 years in his lab. "When you fry it, which I have done, it tastes like bacon, not seaweed. And it's a pretty strong bacon flavor." The school has already tested out a few food items that use the ingredient, such as rice crackers and salad dressing, and, according to Oregon's Agricultural Progress (a university publication), even showcased it at San Francisco's Fancy Food Show. Several chefs in Portland (of course) are now testing it in their kitchens.

Dulse, like many seaweeds, grows extraordinarily fast and already commonly grows on the shores of both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. While eating eating seaweed might be a little odd for some palates, substances derived from seaweed are already used in many foods and it's not that uncommon in East Asian (especially Japanese) cuisine.

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Check out the video from Oregon State University about the superfood seaweed: