Below are some of the questions we get asked most often. If you have a question, and you don’t see the answer below, please ask!
- Why should I buy my seaweed from Rising Tide instead of elsewhere?
- Why are your seaweeds more expensive than what I can get at my grocery store/Asian market?
- How are your seaweed products different?
- If you harvest locally, off the Mendocino Coast, why do you also import seaweed from Asia?
- Now that I’ve bought this seaweed, what do I do with it?
- Should I wash my seaweed? How should I clean it?
- How long does dried seaweed last? Does it go bad?
- I found a bug/insect/shell in my seaweed! What should I do?!
- Is your seaweed contaminated by radiation?
- My seaweed has white stuff all over it. Is it mold/fungus?
- I’m allergic to shellfish. Is it safe for me to eat your seaweed?
- I’ve heard that there are lots of heavy metals in the ocean now, and it’s being absorbed by marine life. Isn’t your seaweed full of heavy metals, too?
- How do I know that the seaweed you harvest isn’t contaminated by local sewage?
What’s so great about Rising Tide’s seaweed?
Why should I buy my seaweed from Rising Tide instead of elsewhere?
Most seaweed consumed in the U.S. comes from large, industrial operations in Asia, where seaweed is farmed or machine-harvested in ways that can be environmentally harmful and in areas that may or may not have clean ocean water. Additionally, large producers often dry their seaweed at high temperatures, burning out taste and nutrients, and then store the seaweed for years before selling it. Our California seaweed is hand-harvested off the Mendocino Coast, immediately sun-dried, and usually shipped to you
within the year. Whatever products you buy from us, you can be sure you’re getting the very best seaweed, sustainably harvested. See About Us for more about our local, sustainable cottage industry.
Why are your seaweeds more expensive than what I can find at the grocery store / Asian market?
We’re selling a much higher quality product. Most commercially available seaweed is machine-harvested and industrially processed in huge batches, which not only harms marine ecosystems, but also results in a less flavorful, less nutritionally sound sea vegetable on your plate. We do everything by hand, choosing each leaf and frond for quality and freshness — and you can taste the difference that makes. See How We Harvest to find out about Rising Tide’s early morning seaweed- harvesting trips.
How are your seaweed products different?
Our seaweed products are the finest available, with sparkling flavor and freshness. Our California seaweed is chosen and cut by hand, harvested sustainably and in small quantities, and naturally sun dried. If you order from us, you can rest assured that you’re getting the very best while supporting a sustainable industry. See our About Us page for details.
If you harvest locally, off the Mendocino Coast, why do you import seaweed from Asia?
Just as land plants grow only in certain places, sea vegetables have their native regions. There are some really wonderful seaweeds, like hijiki and arame, that don’t grow in California waters. So, in order to provide you with a complete range of quality, sustainable seaweed we also offer Asian seaweed varieties from trusted distributors and manufacturers.
What do I do with this stuff?
Now that I’ve bought this seaweed, what do I do with it?
That depends on the type of seaweed. Some of our sea vegetables, like our crinkly, California whole leaf Nori or our delicious Sea Crunchies (a snack made of toasted Sea Palm), are great right out of the bag. Others, like Wakame and Kombu, can be softened with soaking or cooking. Try the suggestions we provide on each package, or another of our favorite recipes. Our Products page has even more ideas.
Before preparing them, be sure to sort through your sea vegetables to remove any foreign matter, just as you would beans or rice. Though we do our best to remove the small shells that naturally turn up in wild seaweed, a few occasionally slip by. Take it as proof that we really do everything by hand!
Should I wash my seaweed? How should I clean it?
Your seaweed is already clean. But do sort through your sea vegetables before soaking or cooking to remove any foreign matter. This is especially important if you’re allergic to shellfish, since small crustaceans often hide out in seaweed.
How long does dried seaweed last? Does it go bad?
Dried seaweed never rots. The salt naturally found on seaweed helps to preserve it, keeping it fresh for quite a while. Much like dried herbs, however, seaweed loses its flavor and nutritive qualities over time. Our seaweed is best when used within two years.
I found a bug/insect/shell in my seaweed! What should I do?
Don’t panic! Isopods (small crustaceans) and tiny marine snails and limpets live in and around seaweed beds. The occasional appearance of these creatures assures you that you’re getting an all-natural product – just like the caterpillar you might find in your organic broccoli. We do try to remove such things, but since we’re only human, a few get past us. Certainly take them out if you’re allergic to shellfish. Otherwise, consider this: the shrimp-like crustaceans are edible and tasty! One of our customers is especially fond of them and always asks if she can have some extra isopods with her order.
I’ve got a concern about my seaweed….
Is your seaweed contaminated by radiation?
Many of our fears were soothed when we at Rising Tide became involved in UC Berkeley’s Department of Nuclear Engineering food chain sampling for radioactive isotopes, and they didn’t find any radioactive isotopes from Japan in the seaweed samples we sent to them. Whew! You can see the full set of results at www.nuc.berkeley.edu/node/2525#seaweed.
Researchers at the department also explain the results of their sampling of various other foodstuffs, soil, water, etc., at www.nuc.berkeley.edu/UCBAirSampling/FoodChain#seaweed. Here are two blurbs about seaweed from that page:
“8/12 (6:20pm): This week we were able to test three more samples of seaweed from Northern California. Once again, no isotopes from Japan were detected.”
“6/9 (11:10pm): Food chain samples have been updated with new samples of topsoil, grass, and seaweed. Cesium-134 and 137 were detected in the soil sample, but no fission product isotopes were detected in the grass or seaweed samples.”(emphasis added)
If you or your customers are interested, the main page, www.nuc.berkeley.edu/UCBAirSampling, has a lot of information about the samples showing radioactive isotopes from Japan—mostly soil, milk, and strawberries. Just FYI, and for your customers’ information.
One of our main concerns is the ongoing health of the ocean, so we’re also staying apprised of a wonderful ocean sampling project jointly undertaken by the University of Hawaii and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. You can find information about that, here: http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=83397&tid=3622&cid=94989. This page also gives an overview about how radiation “behaves” in the atmosphere, with great information about radiation, food safety, and much more.
My seaweed has white stuff all over it. Is it mold/fungus?
Nope – that’s just sea salt. Enjoy!
I’m allergic to shellfish. Is it safe for me to eat your seaweed?
Yes! Just be sure you sort through the seaweed to remove any shells or small crustaceans that might have accidentally made it into the bag. These little ocean creatures are a natural and necessary part of the marine ecosystems where our seaweed grows, and though we do try to remove them, we occasionally miss one or two.
Doesn’t seaweed come from those smelly, sandy, fly-infested piles I saw on the beach last weekend? Yuck!
Definitely not! What you see on the beach are dead and decaying sea plants, most of which are not the types that people eat. More to the point, we don’t collect anything from the beach. We harvest only fresh leaves from living sea plants in the ocean at low tide.
I’ve heard that there are lots of heavy metals in the ocean now and it’s being absorbed by marine life. Is seaweed full of heavy metals, too?
In some areas of the world, where there are large industries, factories and industrial farms, pollutants such as heavy metals are washed into the ocean and may be absorbed by sea vegetables. There are no such industries or large farms along the Mendocino coastline for more than 150 miles north or south, and compared to most other places in the world, our ocean is pristine. Still, we take extra precautions to make sure our waters are clean, checking our county health department’s water quality hotline frequently prior to and during harvest.
How do I know that the seaweed you harvest isn’t contaminated by local sewage?
The population along the Mendocino Coast is so small that sewage overflows aren’t a problem like they are in large cities. (And we live here, so if there were a sewage spill, we’d know about it!) In addition, our county health department monitors the ocean water for contaminants, and we check their hotline frequently prior to and during harvest.