An algae that tastes like bacon, has high nutritional value AND is a source of protein? Sounds like the stuff of science fiction but it’s real – it’s dulse.
Professor Chuck Toombs has been working with scientists at Oregon State University (OSU) to engineer and harvest a unique variety of dulse that, when fried, tastes just like the fatty, delicious meat but with greater health benefits.
"Dulse is a super food, with twice the nutritional value of kale," Toombs said in a statement. "And OSU has developed a variety that can be farmed, with the potential for a new industry on the Oregon coast."
Like most “new” health foods you’ve never heard of before, dulse has been produced and consumed in Iceland for centuries. Furthermore, it is well-known as a natural source rich in fiber and loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Dulse can be found along the Pacific and Atlantic coast, and it’s already available in health food supermarkets in dried form but at a hefty price. However, researcher Chris Langdon of OSU says that given the right conditions and resources, he could grow this particular strain of bacon-flavored seaweed at a rate of 45 kilograms (100 pounds) per week in his laboratory.
Students and researchers at the university’s center for food innovation are already creating delicious recipes with dulse. Veggie burgers, salad dressing, and even beer could all get the dulse treatment if the university’s plans to market the product to U.S. consumers ever comes to fruition.
But something tells me, if dulse truly does taste like bacon, their work is already done.