Whether you’re a seaweed virgin or a super user of plant-based deliciousness, here are a few helpful facts you might like to know.
Getting started with seaweed
Why should I eat seaweed?
1.Seaweeds offer a wide range of concentrated micro-nutrients, minerals and trace elements, many of which are no longer available from depleted soils, but are abundant in the ocean. Remineralising your body can have a dramatic positive impact on your health.
2. Seaweeds offer a range of delicious, plant-based umami flavours. Each type of sea vegetable is unique – just as a blueberry and grape whilst both fruits, have distinct flavours from each other.
3. Growing and eating seaweeds leaves a far lighter footprint on the planet than land based food crops do. They don’t require additional water, nor added artificial fertilisers, as they absorb what they need from the ocean and bask in sunlight to make food.
Why is seaweed so good for your health?
- Seaweeds offer a huge range of health benefits, starting with their nutrient density. Each seaweed type offers a unique range of vitamins and minerals, some of which (e.g iodine and selenium) are not available from land based plants. Remineralising your body can have a dramatic positive impact on many areas of holistic health.
- Seaweeds are known for their abilities to detox. Seaweeds act like sponges in the ocean ~ they contain unique bio-active compounds which attract and process heavy metals and environmental pollutants. They will also perform this gently detoxing function in your gut when you eat them.
- Seaweeds can help to balance your body functions and systems. This ranges from supporting lower blood pressure (due to their potassium content), promoting lipid metabolism in the liver, and helping to regulate endocrine function. They are highly alkaline, so soothing for the digestive tract and a good source of prebiotic fibre. Read more here.
What is the nutritional value in seaweed?
Seaweeds pack a nutritional punch! Because of the way they absorb them, and the availability in the ocean, seaweeds offer denser concentrations of a range of micronutrients and of minerals such as iodine, potassium, magnesium, and iron than many land plants do.
Brown seaweeds have unique compounds not found in the other colour groups, such as fucoidan - which has many beneficial properties. Seaweeds also offer fatty acids in favourable ratios and are a low-fat, low-calorie food. So, eat the rainbow of sea vegetable colours.
Which seaweed I should I eat, and when?
There are many ways you can add seaweed to every meal and snack. A little bit, often is the key. Browse our extensive recipe collection for inspiration, or read our quick blog post.
We recommend regularly eating a little of a variety of seaweeds in all colours to get a mix of nutrients and unique umami flavours. Just as we would eat a selection of land vegetables, you can include a small amount of red, green and brown seaweeds in your diet each day. Read more here.
Add small amounts of seaweed, to everyday meals and snacks.
How much seaweed should I eat?
Due to their mineral density and their dehydrated format, only small amounts of seaweed are required in your diet.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel - just add a little seaweed to what you are already doing.
Why is iodine important?
Iodine is an essential mineral that is used by the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones which control many functions in the body ~ including growth and development. Your body does not produce iodine so it needs to be consumed in your food.
Soil based plants generally do not contain iodine, and a deficiency means the body cannot produce enough thyroid hormones.
About different seaweeds
Check our product pages for more detail
Is Sea Moss the same as Irish Moss
Sea Moss is the umbrella term for a few species of seaweeds that form gels when soaked. Whilst there are some distinct differences, Irish Moss and 'Sea Moss' are used in the same way.
Pacific Harvest prefer to source our seaweeds from cooler waters, which tend to be more nutrient rich, making the seaweeds more resilient. We also have confidence that the seaweed has been ethically and sustainably grown, which is not always the case with some of the species commercially grown (in pools/in the ocean) in the tropics. It's also fairly common that these species of commercially grown seaweeds may also have been treated with fertilisers or pesticides.
We don’t process our Irish Moss - we offer it in its raw form, milled into small flakes. Most people will make it into a gel before using it. Some commercially available gels have added ingredients, and a limited shelf life.. Although there is a benefit of not having to make up the gel, we offer the raw form of this seaweed so customers can make up just what they need, and reduce any food wastage.
Read more on this topic in our blog.
Do you stock NZ harvested karengo?
Since the earthquake in Kaikoura in 2016, the commercial harvesting area for Karengo (the Maori name for Nori) in New Zealand remains closed. We have sourced Nori from ethical harvesters of both wild (from Europe and South America) and farmed Nori (from Korea). All seaweeds we offer in our range are tested in accordance with the ANZ Food Code.
At this stage we cannot be sure when local karengo will be allowed to be commercially harvested again. Watch this space - we will be very excited and you will probably hear it here first!
What is the difference between Kombu & Kelp?
Kombu is a kelp which has been cut and dried in a specific way. This blog article will hopefully provide more information for you. We offer kombu strips and leaves as well as a range of kelp seasoning and powders.
What is Agar powder and how do I use it?
Agar is a red seaweed which we sell in a powdered format. The most common use is as a vegan gelatine. Our Agar is sustainably farmed in India and is flavourless and odourless.
Quality & food safety
Why is testing important in seaweeds?
Because seaweeds naturally clean their environment, they will absorb contaminants, pollutants, and heavy metals from the area around them.
Pacific Harvest has strong relationships with harvesters operating in clean areas with good current flow, so we naturally select clean seaweeds.
However, whether our seaweeds are local or imported, we test for contaminants according to the requirements in the ANZ Food Code, so you can always trust what you’re buying.
Is the amount of iodine in seaweed dangerous?
Many products in our range offer an excellent source of naturally occurring iodine, which in its natural wholefood form is bioavailable. Many seaweeds (particularly the brown seaweeds like kelp, wakame) do have naturally high levels of iodine.
Excessive consumption beyond the recommended daily intake can have harmful effects for some people. Please adhere to serving suggestions on packaging.
If you are sensitive to iodine, explore the iodine information on the labels of the green (Sea Lettuce) or red seaweeds (Nori, Irish Moss, Atlantic Dulse , Sea Chicory).
Because we recommend adding small quantities of seaweeds to meals, the total amount of iodine may be minimal if eating from the green or red colour groups. Always seek personalised advice from a medical or natural practitioner if you have concerns.
What is the white powder on the seaweed frond?
You may notice a fine white powder on some seaweed types such as Wakame, Kombu and Atlantic Dulse. This is sometimes mistaken for mould but it is in fact an amino acid called glutamine which naturally rises to the surface of the lead when the seaweed frond is air dried. This is also the source of the prized, rich umami flavour and is both safe and delicious to eat.
If there is a smell of mould please do not consume the seaweed. Please contact us with pictures of the seaweed, and details of the best before date and batch stamp on the packaging and we’ll liaise with you directly depending on the situation. Please read our T&Cs if you have any other questions.
Where are your seaweeds harvested?
Pacific Harvest proudly offers a wide range of seaweeds. Seaweeds, like land plants, grow in different environments – different latitudes, depths. Some prefer shallow water, others depth, some prefer rocky shorelines.
As a result, we work with harvesters from around the world to stock a range of seaweeds which grow locally and abroad. Some popular seaweeds in Australasia only grow in the northern hemisphere so we import where required. All seaweeds we offer in our range have been tested in accordance with the ANZ Food Code.
Are seaweeds high in nitrates?
Generally speaking, seaweeds contain a high variety and density of nutrients, including nitrates, which they absorb from the ocean.
Always ensure you are eating seaweed which has been harvested away from high run off areas.
Do you test for radiation?
Radiation can certainly impact seaweeds. This is why we are careful to only work with harvesters operating in clean, uncontaminated waters. Radiation (such as from the Fukushima disaster in 2011) travels fair distances based on currents.
We check for radiation as the need arises but there is extremely low risk of this because of where we harvest from.
What is the shelf life of my seaweed - how long will it last?
The dense concentration of minerals and micro-nutrients in seaweeds offers a natural form of preservative. This means they will have a relatively longer shelf life (up to three years from when we pack it). Pay attention to storage instructions to prolong the vibrancy of their colour. Reseal seaweeds once opened, keep moisture out.
How do I store seaweeds?
Once opened, store in an airtight container, or reseal to keep the moisture out. Dried seaweeds do not need to be kept in the fridge – your pantry is fine, just out of direct sunlight. Once you have re-hydrated the seaweed use within a day or two (store in the fridge).
Please pay attention to the suggested serving sizes on the back of the packaging – it will expand when wet, it so serves more people that you may initially envisage.
What’s the difference between wild harvested and farmed seaweeds?
Farmed seaweeds have been cultivated as crops, wild harvested seaweeds have had no human intervention in their growth.
Farmed seaweeds’ flavour, colour and nutrient profile is generally more consistent than wild, whereas wild seaweeds may offer stronger flavours, and more variability in size and colour.
There are different types of wild harvesting options - some less regenerative than others. We only work with harvesters who operate ethically and respectfully.
What do you mean by detritus?
Whilst every effort is made to check and clean our seaweed prior to hand packing it, we occasionally miss something. You may find some sand or evidence of the beach in your bag!
We recommend an additional check prior to consumption to remove unwanted ocean detritus.
Do you test for micro plastics?
Seaweeds don't injest microplastics as fish can. However it is possible some plastic matter may be entwined with seaweed that has been harvested. We conduct visual checks before packing our seaweeds for detritus including plastics. Some of our products have been tested for micro plastic testing, which is very precise and can detect parts per million.
Please read more on microplastics in food here.
Cooking with seaweeds everyday
What is the flavour of seaweed - is it fishy?
Each seaweed type has a unique umami flavour. Using seaweed in cooking will often deepen and intensify other flavours already present.
Atlantic Dulse is known as the vegan bacon due to its naturally smoky flavour. Wakame has a delicate oyster-like flavour whilst seaweeds like nori can offer different flavours, depending on how it is used in cooking. When roasted, Nori may take on a nuttier, tea-like flavour, whereas in a tomato based sauce it may taste of anchovy.
Experiment with a range of products to see which flavour is your best!
Can I use seaweed as a salt substitute if I follow a low sodium diet?
Yes! If you crave salt it could be a sign of mineral deficiency. Seaweeds contain potassium and other minerals as well as sodium, so they make an excellent, naturally iodised alternative to a regular table salt, and are a great way to substitute salt on a low sodium diet.
Are your products gluten free?
Yes. Our range is Crossed Grain certified, so all of our products are certified as gluten free.
How does seaweed tenderise meat and beans when used in cooking?
Kelp has enzymes in it which help to break down cell walls, and this can aid digestion. Soak a kombu strip or leaf in water when making stock, or use kelp as a rub on meats before cooking, to infuse umami flavour and tenderise.
What are 5 quick ways I can add seaweed to my diet?
There are countless ways to add a little seaweed into the everyday meals you already eat. Eat the seaweed rainbow! Click here for ideas on quick ways to get started.
Why does my seaweed look different to what I bought last time?
Some of our seaweeds can vary in size and shape depending on when in the season they are harvested. For example, early season wakame will be a thin leaf whilst the end of the season sees a much broader, denser leaf. Farmed seaweeds are usually offered in a more consistent format throughout the year.
Which seaweed should I eat?
Each seaweed also offers a different flavour and nutritional profile. Read more about seaweed here.
What size should I try?
Seaweeds will expand, (up to 10x), when you rehydrate them. They are also densely nutritious so please pay attention to the serving size suggestions on the reverse of the pack. A little goes a long way, and there are lots of different ways to use each type of seaweed. We suggest you start with the smaller sizes then replace as needed.
Sales & shipping
Can I order in bulk?
We do offer bulk seaweeds but only some of these can be purchased via our website. Please contact us for support if you can’t find what you are looking for. .
Please note the supply of bulk seaweeds is always subject to availability. We cannot guarantee that what you wish to order is available as many seaweeds are seasonal.
Bulk orders cannot be returned once opened (unless there is product fault). They are packed to order so please choose carefully when you order.
I’d like to become a wholesaler?
Please complete this application form and we will be in touch shortly.
I’m a wholesale customer, how do I order?
If you are in NZ and have an account with us, please log in via our wholesale portal here.
If you are in Australia, Taiwan or Malaysia, please contact us for details of our distribution partners.
I need help to place my order online.
Please try a hard refresh to clear your cache and try again. If this is not working we are more than happy to help you over the phone – please give us a call on +64 (0) 9 414 7600.
How are your shipping rates calculated?
Within Australia and New Zealand orders over $80 qualify for free shipping. International shipping costs to other countries are calculated based on the volume and weight of what you have ordered, and where you live. We don't make any margin on shipping.
Has my order been shipped?
When we dispatch your order we will automatically send you shipping tracking details. Please check your junk folder if you have not received this.
We only offer a tracked service because this ensures we are able to track and trace parcels effectively when things occasionally go wrong.
Where do you ship to?
We ship daily, everywhere.
Can you send me free samples?
We are a small business and unfortunately don’t have an additional budget for free samples. All our products are available in smaller ‘trial’ friendly formats - please order these directly from our website.
Read about our journey
Why do you use plastic packaging?
We are on a packaging journey! Whilst all of our plastic is recyclable, achieving a perfect solution to packaging is complicated as seaweed needs to be kept dry as it absorbs moisture from the atmosphere.
We need to select the best packaging for the job based on a number of factors. These include their moisture barrier properties (to ensure product safety), recyclability, shelf life and quality as well as keeping our pricing reasonable.
Our carefully selected packaging is intended to find the right balance between all of these factors and is a constant work in progress! Read more here.
When will you use compostable packaging?
As with recyclable packaging, it is important to find compostable packaging that has suitable end of life solutions to avoid ending up in landfill. We will continue to monitor the situation in NZ and Australia and make changes as the technology becomes available.
What packaging can I return?
You can recycle the soft plastic bags through the soft plastic recycling scheme in NZ (www.recyclingkiwi.co.nz) and REDcycle in Australia (www.redcycle.net.au) All of the packaging needs to be completely clean, dry and free of all food residue. This is important as otherwise it cannot be recycled.
Our cardboard boxes can be put in your worm farm or recycled through roadside collections. Read more here.
Still have questions?
If you do not find the answers you needed, please get in touch with us so we can help you.