Seaweed is a nutritional powerhouse and we are very fortunate that here in Australia the majority of our seaweed species are edible. Down on the south coast of NSW, Ecklonia radiata, more commonly known as common kelp or golden kelp, is washed up in abundance after a heavy storm. I collect it to add to the compost heap as a multivitamin for the garden. I also pickle a little to have on hand as a tasty condiment in the kitchen. Only collect from beaches away from large cities and waste water outfalls to ensure a clean source, and remember there are rules about what you can collect. Kelp can only be collected without a licence if it’s washed up on the beach as it’s not legal to cut from rocks, and in most states there are limits on how much you can collect – check your state regulations.
Use pickled seaweed as you would any other pickle. It’s great with a sharp cheese, cured meats or to enrich a broth-based soup.
- 1 kg common kelp (Ecklonia radiata)
- 650 ml water
- 250 ml (1 cup) white wine vinegar
- 100 g white sugar
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Makes: 4 x 250 ml jars
Thoroughly rinse the seaweed in fresh water to remove any sand and trim off any tough stems. Slice the kelp into thin ribbons.
Combine the water, vinegar, sugar and spices in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat.
Add the seaweed into the hot pickling liquid. At first the seaweed will be a vivid green, though this will dull quickly. Transfer the seaweed to sterilised jars (see Note), being sure to pack it in firmly. Top with the pickling liquid, making sure the seaweed is fully submerged, then seal.
To sterilise jars, 20 minutes before you need them, preheat the oven to 110°C and line an oven tray with baking paper. Place the jars and lids (and seals, if using) in a large stockpot, cover with plenty of water, bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Drain and place the jars and lids, upturned, being careful not to touch the lips or insides of the jars and lids, on the lined tray and leave in the oven to dry completely. Keep in the oven until ready to fill.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Nick Banbury. Creative concept by Belinda So. Entrée plate (crackers) from Little White Dish.