PORTLAND – What grows quickly, is packed with protein, has twice the nutritional value of kale and tastes like bacon? A particular strain of red algae called dulse is being developed by researchers at Oregon State University.

Dulse (Palmaria sp.) grows in the wild along the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines. The nutritionally-dense dulse is harvested and sold as a cooking ingredient or dried and turned into a supplement.

We’re curious to taste the stuff for ourselves, but if it tastes as much like bacon as they say it does, dulse could be a real game-changer.

The team began researching ways of farming the new strain of dulse to feed abalone, but they quickly realized its potential to do well in the human-food market. And bacon-tasting strips, which are fried like regular bacon to bring out the flavor.

Dulse, which is an “excellent source” of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants and contains a high percentage of protein, could be the answer we’re all looking for, he and his co-workers say. The team brought on a culinary research chef to further refine recipes and products.

The Oregon State University is making every possible effort to popularize this “wonder weed”, while chefs are experimenting with this sea “vegetable”, in both its raw and cooked form.

The fast-growing superfood will potentially be commercialised in a line of specialty foods.

Chris Langdon, one of the researchers, said that Europe has already gone ahead of the pack as they have already used dulse in smoothies or toppings on meals.

Langdon says it can be cultivated anywhere that there is “a modest amount of seawater and some sunshine”. Therefore, the researchers maintained that it was easily possible to create an industry in eastern Oregon that would provide a boost to dulse production.

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