Guest post by the best helper - Anna van der Kaaden
October is here and it can only mean one thing for me: olive season is upon us!
Every year since my childhood we have collected the olives from my family house in Tuscany and made our own oil. Sometimes making enough to sell, other years making it just about enough for us. Other years making nothing because of pests (the fly which parasites the olives) or bad seasons meaning too much or too little rain. On Some years the olives are big and full of oil, on other are big and heavy but full of water , making the oil very expensive to make.
you can see it as that slimy thing that sometimes you encounter while you swim, that ‘rotten smelling’ substance forming mats on the beach and making you nauseous on a warm summer day , the super cool complex structure that promotes a biodiverse sea or an important basal resource.
Yes, basal resource, which include its role as food..
But, let’s be honest - eating seaweed might not always be the most appealing of things. It can be very salty and fishy smelly, and to those who say that dulse can be used to replace bacon I say that maybe they have never tasted bacon..I guess what I want to say is that while I do enjoy seaweeds as part of some great recipes (like this simple spaghetti) as a great accompaignement to fish dishes, in sushi and as a great snack, I am not always ready to swap it and so it does not by itself improves the sustainability of my diet.
Yes, because one of the reasons to include it as a food source is that seaweed can be a very sustainable crop!!
Now, let me start by saying that seaweeds might have multiple definitions and could encompass all realm of marine algae and some sea plants. Here I want to focus on the macroscopic (visible by eyes) algae - so excluding all of the sea grasses.
These species are very sustainable to grow, why?
So why is it not used more?
Well as I said before, as trendy as it can sound, seaweed is not that easy to make into appealing and good tasting recipes. Maybe if you were a fancy chef, but even then you probably would use such little amount that it will not make a difference.
But .. I have a good news!
In recent papers they showed that if seaweed is included into animal feed, it will reduce the negative impact of meat production on climate change from excessive methane produced by grazers (particularly cows). So if seaweed = sustainable crop = replacing other crops in animal feed (already a positive effect, as for example soya growing leads to deforestation and a lot of water consumption) = reducing methane production = SUSTAINABLE MEAT!
Of course here I am only considering climate change impacts on meat, and not animal cruelty aspects. A lot more can and should be included.. but for now, let’s think about what this could mean for the future of our diets...
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