In our chips, salads or desserts … Are algae the future of our cuisine?

Charles Guyard (au Croisic), edited by Laura Laplaud

08:07, June 8, 2022

On the occasion of World Ocean Day, Europe 1 revisits the powers of “sea vegetables”, algae, and nutrient-rich plants grown for our food. In the Loire-Atlantique, the Port du Croisic is a major supplier in France due to these seaweed gatherers, these seafaring fishermen specializing in seaweed harvesting.

Will we eat seaweed chips?

“This is nori, a red alga,” describes seaweed picker Jean-Marie Pédron. In the bucket he holds, part of the harvest of the day, about twenty kilos of seaweed, which he transfers to large tanks. “I put water in, because the little periwinkles are going to come out. Then I’m going to install these algae in bins to drop the sand to the bottom,” he says.

The aim of this operation is to make these algae as presentable as possible, because the next day, they will be sent to more than 120 great chefs in France who will transform them as they please. “They’re going to make chips, they’re going to surround it with fish, they’re going to slice it, put it in salads, you can even use it for dessert!”

Algae are also found in toothpaste

For more than ten years, Jean-Marie Pédron’s family has been a professional seaweed picker. Their company, Les Jardins de la mer, is not close to experiencing a crisis. “They’ve been unknowingly eaten for a long time, in toothpaste, candy, dessert creams, and stuff,” he says. “But it was in powder form. We used the gelling properties of the seaweed. Today, the novelty is that we will find them directly on the plate. We can consider them as vegetables or as “spices”, he assures.

Marine plants that are becoming more and more popular, sold for between 30 and 40 euros per kilo. Of the 700 species of algae listed, between 12 and 15 are consumed for their nutritional properties. “Algae have everything we need to supplement our diet,” concludes Jean-Marie Pédron.

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