Ah, bacon. The most sacred of all meats.
Is it really a piece of pork belly/back that has been cured, or is it a slice of salty heaven sent to us from the gods? Bacon can make anything taste amazing. Honestly, you can probably add some bacon to a gross green smoothie and turn it into deliciousness... Okay, maybe that is going a little too far.
7 Bacon has undeniably become the mainstream meat over the past few years.
Creative chefs have come up with delicious versions of cupcakes, brownies, cookies, mayonnaise that feature our favorite meat. There is even a bacon infused vodka. One bacon martini over here, please!
6 We may all have an undying love, nay, passion for all things bacon but the sad, sad truth of the matter is that bacon isn't all that great for our health.
I know, it can make me cry too. That salty goodness we taste is actually mega amounts of sodium, which, if eaten in excess can lead to heart disease and high blood pressure. It is also high in cholesterol (30 mg per ounce) and contains nitrites which can cause various cancers.
5 So, what are we to do if we love bacon but don't want to die a slow, painful death?
Well, what if I told you that we can satisfy our cravings with this red algae that has all the delicious bacon flavor but is, get this, even healthier than kale?!
4 That's right. There is a form of red algae called dulse seaweed that, when fried up, tastes just like bacon!
It may not have the bacon-y appearance that we have all come to love – in fact, it looks more like a red arugula-type lettuce – but we are assured that yes, it tastes just like bacon! Researchers at Oregon State University stumbled across it while trying to find new sources of food for edible sea snails and abalone. One of the researchers, Chris Langdon, knew that they had found something pretty spectacular, which was confirmed when Chris' colleague, Chuck Toombs, told him that it had the potential of developing an entire new industry.
3 Did we mention it's super healthy?
It has a higher count of vitamins and minerals than kale. It is especially high in vitamins B6, B12, A, Iron, Potassium, Phosphorus, and Magnesium as well as Calcium and Protein. It can also aid poor digestion (because it has tons of fiber), help maintain a healthy brain, increase your metabolism, and can be used as a detox supplement (by cleansing our bodies of heavy metals). It is also super high in iodine which helps our thyroids, and can heal and strengthen our livers. This humble seaweed is a hard worker!
2 People have been eating this magical sea-bacon for centuries.
Although there isn't an official market for this sea-bacon is the US as of yet, the people of northern Europe have been eating it for centuries. While it has not been established whether it would be practical to begin commercializing dulse seaweed, it definitely has the potential to revolutionize the vegetarian and vegan food market. It grows at an extraordinary rate and could possibly become the newest craze in sustainable food sourcing.
1 Dulse Seaweed Imposters
There is some red algae being sold in the US for human consumption, but it isn't the same as the dulse seaweed that has been grown at OSU, and not nearly as bacon-y. Don't be fooled!
Anticipating its success, MBA students at OSU are currently working on a marketing strategy for this new line. So, keep an eye out the next time you shop around a health food store.