Kilkell-based Michelle Wilson has released expert guidance on how best to reap the health benefits from researching edible seaweed forage at Co Down.
Michelle runs Crawford Rock that specializes in a range of seaweed products, many of which are now viewed as healthy superfoods.
The entrepreneur organized Sea the Day yesterday which offered opportunities to hunt beaches around Kilkeel for such a popular species
From seaweeds like dulse, nori, carrageen, bladderwrack, and toothed wrack.
Michelle also provides instructions on cooking seaweed using cod, hake, haddock, mussels, crab claws, Dublin Bay prawns and Crawford.
Rock’s award-winning seaweed, salts and spices. Her small business has won UK Great Taste and Blas na hIreann Irish National Food Awards for its natural foods.
The foraging guide was part of an innovative TourismNI/FoodNI initiative to highlight sustainable travel and food over the past month across Northern Ireland.
“The seaweed research was designed to encourage participants to allow the waves to feel their feet and the sand to be their seat,” explains Michelle. “It’s a chance to get rid of all those worries and for those brave enough to enjoy a dip in the cool water. They are able to warm up afterwards with an award-winning mint combo tea and some seaweed chili chocolate as the sun sets and the day ends.”
Seaweed, especially nori, a type of algae, is a staple of popular Japanese cuisine, and is developed by Michelle and her team at Crawford Rock. Its small food product range includes a wide range of spices, salts, oils and seaweeds for smoothies and juices. In addition, it produces a unique seaweed bath for luxury hotels in the region and a natural soap.
Michele’s approach has been shaped by her focus on making it easy for the people here to enjoy seaweed in an array of native salts and
spices. Seaweed, for example, is a healthy alternative to traditional salt.
There are also seaweed capsules that she refers to as “the vitamin of the sea” and a range of seaweed teas including peppermint, nori chai, lemon detox, and
Good night tea. It definitely proves the diversity of local and natural seaweed.
Michelle founded Crawford Rock Seaweed in 2018 based on the experience and heritage of her husband’s family, who fed on this segment.
From the lower coast seaweed has been commonly called laver or nori for generations. Known as slouk, nori in Dawn is a dark black seaweed often rolled into round sushi rolls for a delicious dish in Japan.
Seaweed has become extremely popular with chefs in the coastal regions here.
It is widely regarded as healthy due to experts touting its contribution to health in terms of vitamins A, C and D and protective pigments. It also provides adequate amounts of iodine that helps the thyroid gland. Furthermore, some seaweed is full of vitamin B12, a nutrient that is said to keep blood and nerves healthy.
A mother of four who grew up in the Kilkeel area and has always lived in a fishing hub, Michelle has set up a very successful small business that is involved in drying and processing the seaweed she harvests from the beach near the harbor near the family home she shares with her husband Gareth and the family.
“I spend two days each week checking the seaweed on the beach at low tide, especially to see if it’s falling,” Michelle continues. “It’s also a great way to purify the head and enjoy fresh sea breezes.”
Kelp and rockfish have been used for many generations in the Morne Mountains and other coastal communities as a natural remedy and treatment for
Coughs and colds in the fall and winter. The seaweed was also once distributed to farmers in the Mournes region for agricultural purposes. It has also been used in
Michelle, who has a degree in dementia studies, gave up a long career in the NHS in 2018 to develop her longstanding passion for health and nature.
A food that is now widely accepted as affecting mood and mental health. Furthermore, Michele has an interest in natural medicine
Which also affects her small business.
The company’s seaweed seasoning is now creating a growing interest beyond Kilkeeel and has been acclaimed in the influential UK Fine Food Guild.
Awards and at the National Irish Food Awards Blas na hEireann. The expert judges at Blas named their garlic and rosemary seaweed seasoning
Best New Product of 2020.
The health benefits of eating seaweed are now “widely known and accepted,” says Michelle.
“Seaweed is full of minerals and vitamins, and is now justifiably regarded as a superfood all over the world. Seaweed is now known as an incredibly high-energy, low-calorie food.”