My friend and Author of book The Urban Homesteading Cookbook Dr. Michelle Nelson, guided us down to the beach to experience how to harvest edible sea weeds in the Pacific Northwest  It was extremely fun and very useful. A little mermaid came out of all of us!

She showed us 3 different edible seaweeds. I posted photos and some recipes below. Two of which are from her seriously fantastic book.  

Always remember when foraging for wild foods:                                                                     

  • To go out with an expert OR you have become an expert yourself; to ensure you stay safe and know how to practice sustainable harvesting.

  • Especially with seaweeds, you want to leave behind more than you take, to rinse off and return any sea creatures that may be on the seaweed before leaving the shore. Inspect the weeds very closely as even the tiniest of shell fish could be attached. Make sure you leave them in the water near the patch you pulled from.

  • Finding your own food is extremely rewarding and is something we all need to be taught, it makes you have a greater appreciation for the environment we live in and mucho respect for our Mother Earth.

You can follow Michelle and her adventures @therurbanist on Instagram.

Catch a sneak peak of our day here, Enjoy!


Page 63 in The Urban Homesteading Cookbook by: Dr. Catherine Michelle Nelson

"The first time I made this salad, I was amazed that it took only three minutes to collect the seaweed and another three to whip it up—and it tasted as good as the salad at my favourite sushi restaurant! Look for green marine algae called sea lettuce or sea hair (Enteromorpha or Ulva spp)."

2 Tbsp (30 mL) sesame seeds
1 cup (250 mL) sea lettuce or sea

2 Tbsp (30 mL) rice wine vinegar 3 Tbsp (45 mL) soy sauce
1 Tbsp (15 mL) sesame oil
1 tsp (5 mL) sugar

1⁄2 Tbsp (7.5 mL) shredded ginger 1⁄2 Tbsp (7.5 mL) crushed garlic 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) finely sliced

1⁄4 cup (60 mL) shredded carrot

  1. Toast sesame seeds in a cast iron frying pan over medium heat until the seeds start turning brown.

  2. Soak the freshly collected seaweed in tap water for a minute, then rinse and squeeze out excess water (use a salad spinner for best results). Put vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, ginger and garlic in a small mason jar, screw on the lid, and shake to mix. Toss seaweed, scallions and carrot with the dressing, then top with toasted sesame seeds and serve.



Rockweed Kimchi

Page 236 in The Urban Homesteading Cookbook by: Dr. Catherine Michelle Nelson

"This naturally fermented kimchi-style pickled condiment is a delicious addition to sandwiches and suppers, and just as beautiful as it is nutritious. Forage for a brown marine algae, such as ubiquitous bladderwrack or rockweed, which tend to be tougher than green algae and lend themselves better to pickling and fermenting (see Wild and Invasive Edibles at the Seashore, page 48). Seaweed often contains large amounts of gelatinous substances (so much so, they are used commercially to make foaming tooth- paste), so don’t worry if the mixture is rather gluey to start with. I find this gelatin lends itself well to kimchi-style ferments, which traditionally use a pastry-flour base anyway. See photo of recipe on page 63."

2 cups (475 mL) rockweed
1 head green cabbage, sliced
1 head red cabbage, sliced

1⁄4 cup (60 mL) pickling salt
2 cups (475 mL) fresh water

1⁄4 cup (60 mL) flour (rice flour is most traditional,

but wheat works too)
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) puréed fresh ginger root
8 garlic cloves, puréed

1⁄4 cup (60 mL) puréed onions (about half a medium

1 Tbsp (15 mL) hot pepper flakes (optional)

  1. Rinse the freshly collected seaweed by running under tap water to remove any debris or lingering marine water, then slice.

  2. Dry salt the sliced cabbage and seaweed by adding the salt and veggies in layers to a large bowl. Leave for a few hours, mixing once or twice. This will soften the seaweed and cabbage. After the drysalting process, rinse thoroughly to remove the excess salt.

3. Create the base for the kimchi by first mixing the flour with water and heating to a simmer on the stovetop, stirring until it thickens. Take off heat, let cool, then mix in ginger, garlic, onions and pepper flakes (if using).

4. Add the base to the rinsed cabbage and seaweed, mixing together. Taste and add salt and hot pepper flakes to desired taste.

5. Pack the mixture into a 4-cup (1-L) crock or glass jar, making sure all the solids are beneath the liquids. I use a smaller jar full of water to weigh down the solids.

6. Cover with crock topjar lid or cheesecloth, and let the mixture ferment at room temperature for about 3 days, or until it turns a lovely purple and seems to have mixed together. At this point, you can remove any surface moulds (these are normal and not dangerous), put the kimchi in a fresh jar and stick it in the fridge to enjoy right away. Or seal the jar and put it in the back of the fridge to slowly ferment and produce carbon dioxide for a couple of weeks, which will create the coolest fizzy purple seaweed condiment you’ve ever tasted. Maybe also the only one you’ve ever tasted.




Bull Kelp Bread and Butter Pickle Recipe 

This recipe is from: Alaska Floats my Boat.

So you have collected the stipes and blades of bullwhip kelp. Before you knew it the cooler or tote had quite a bit in it! The blades will be dried, and then crumbled to fit easily into jars. The stipes will make several batches of pickles with some left over to add to dinner.

The kelp does not need to be rinsed, but if you do, then just a very quick freshwater rinse is enough. For pickles, peeling is optional. We like the unpeeled variety. If you would like peeled pickles, then a carrot peeler works well. The kelp is slippery at this point, so, if you want, then you can slide the stipe over a dowel to help stabilize it for peeling. 

Get your canning supplies ready to go: 

  • A large pot with a lid to process the jars in, and enough water to cover the jars by at least an inch

  • A small pot half full of water to simmer the lids in

  • A large pot to boil the kelp mixture in

  • Colander  

  • Clean, hot pint and/or half-pint jars (keep hot in simmering water or in the oven)  This recipe fills about six pints or twelve half pints.

  • Ladle, spoons, canning funnel, jar grabber, towels to set jars on, lid magnet, cloth to wipe rims, hot pads

  • If you haven't canned before then please check with your extension service or a reference like the Ball Blue Book of Canning to learn the basics.

3 quarts bull kelp stipe sliced into 1/4" to 1/2" thick "O's"

2 large onions chopped or sliced

1/4 cup canning salt

1 pint vinegar 5% acidity

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon celery seeds

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon peppercorns

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine kelp and onion in a large bowl. Sprinkle with canning salt, stir the salt through the kelp and onion. Let stand for one hour.  Rinse well with fresh water.

Get your big pot of water for processing going so that it will be at a boil when your jars are packed. Put new, clean jar lids in the little pot, and start bringing them up to a simmer when you start boiling the kelp.



Measure the sugar and spices, stirring the spices into the sugar to prevent any clumping. Combine sugar and spices with vinegar in a large pot and bring to a boil to make the syrup.

Add the rinsed, drained kelp and onions to the hot syrup and bring to a boil again. 

When you first add the kelp to the syrup it will turn bright green! 

After boiling they won't be as bright.


Pack the kelp and onions into a clean, hot jar. Use the back of a spoon to press the kelp in.  Ladle in syrup to within 1/2 inch of the top. If the kelp is packed loosely then you will run out of syrup before all of the jars are filled, so pack 'em in.

Wipe the rim, put the lid and ring on, and proceed to the next jar. 

Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the bath, set upright about one inch apart on a folded towel away from drafts to cool. 

Check that all of the jars sealed. If any didn't seal then put them in the refrigerator and eat the pickles within a few weeks.

Label the jars with contents and date. 

The kelp pickles can be eaten right away, but the flavor is better after a week or so.