Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Dulse is a reddish edible alga and a true all-rounder. Whether raw as a salad, steamed as a spinach substitute or crispy fried as a soup topping, dulse can be used in many ways in the kitchen. Smoked, the reddish tufts even taste similar to bacon. So it's no wonder that dulse is becoming increasingly popular, and not only among vegans!

The red alga thrives in cold coastal waters in the Atlantic and Pacific. In North America and Iceland, dulse has been regularly served for years and is also becoming increasingly popular here in Europe. Dulse is rich in protein and contains a variety of trace elements and minerals. The superfood is available dried, as flakes and as powder. We have compared the different dulse products and show you what you should look for when buying.




Summary

  • Dulse belongs to the red algae and thrives in cold coastal waters in the Pacific or Atlantic. When freshly harvested, the edible algae appears in red clusters and is reminiscent of red cabbage.
  • Dulse is available fresh or dried. Dulse products are also available in flake or powder form. Accordingly, it can be used in many different ways in the kitchen.
  • Dulse is rich in nutrients such as vitamin A, iodine, magnesium and calcium. The edible algae can also strengthen the immune system and lower blood pressure.

The best dulse: Our Picks

Here we have listed our favourite Dulse products for you. This compilation is intended to help you with your purchase decision. Among the recommended items you will find both dried flakes and dulse powder. You are sure to find the right dulse product for you and your needs.

Buying and evaluation criteria for dulse

To make your decision easier when choosing a Dulse product, you will find the most important buying criteria here. These should help you to find the best Dulse product for you and your needs.

We will also explain why these criteria are important when buying dulse and what else you should consider. On this basis, you should then be able to choose a suitable product.

Nutrient content

Dulse algae naturally contain a lot of iodine. This trace element is responsible for the function of your thyroid gland. Dulse also contains other important vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, magnesium and calcium.

The nutrient content is very much dependent on the quality and process of the manufacturer. The more processed the dulse product, the fewer nutrients are retained. When buying, therefore, make sure that the seaweed comes from wild growth and has been gently dried in the sun.

Origin

Dulse belongs to the red algae and feels most at home in cool salt water. It particularly thrives in steep coastal waters. The rocky bottom and high sunlight are ideal conditions for photosynthesis.

The alga can also be found on the European Atlantic coast. It is of course more ecological to source a product from our neighbouring country France than one that has been shipped from overseas. Dulse is often contaminated with pollutants, regardless of which part of the world it comes from. So be sure to check the supplier for regular and adequate quality control.

Consumption

Dulse can be eaten raw or cooked. However, many manufacturers require the algae to be soaked for at least five minutes before consumption. Dulse flakes can be used to enhance any dish, from salads to mashed potatoes. In powder form, it makes a nutrient-rich condiment topping.

Although dulse is fat-free, low in calories and packed with healthy minerals and vitamins, it is not advised to eat more than three times a week. The reason for this is the high iodine content.

This can cause health problems if consumed in excess. Therefore, always pay attention to the manufacturer's nutritional information when buying. Also keep an eye on what other iodine-containing foods you consume besides dulse.

Sustainability

Dulse is essential for the health of our oceans and helps to keep the air clean by sequestering CO2. Excessive dulse harvesting is counterproductive for our climate. However, like all algae, dulse grows insanely fast and without any consumption of arable land. Compared to meat products, it is therefore a sustainable source of protein.

Since dulse also grows in Europe, among other places, there are no long, climate-damaging transport routes. Many suppliers harvest dulse in France or Ireland and then process it in Germany. In order to take sustainability aspects into account when buying dulse, you should choose wild dulse from certified organic cultivation.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about dulse answered in detail

To make your purchase decision easier, we explain all the central questions about dulse in this section.

Who is dulse suitable for?

Dulse is a protein-rich and nutrient-rich edible alga. Since it is relatively low in calories and fat, it is especially popular with athletes. Thanks to its detoxifying effect and high iodine content, dulse is a suitable food supplement for hypertension patients.

Dulse

Dulse powder adds an extra dose of healthy nutrients to dishes as a tasty seasoning. (Image source: Unsplash/ Brooke Lark )

People who want to eat a generally healthy and climate-conscious diet can also benefit from dulse. The regional superfood requires no arable land in cultivation. Moreover, it is naturally vegan and gluten-free and thus also suitable for allergy sufferers. The iodine-containing algae is not recommended for people with thyroid problems such as Hashimoto's disease.

What effect does dulse have?

Regular consumption of the nutrient-rich dulse has numerous positive effects on health. Particularly noteworthy is its detoxifying and anti-inflammatory effect and can support weight loss.

The high iodine content ensures the healthy functioning of the thyroid gland and regulates the metabolism as well as the cardiovascular system. For this reason, dulse is also said to have a blood pressure-lowering effect. The many nutrients in dulse also strengthen the immune system.

However, too much dulse, which contains iodine, can also cause health problems. Excessive iodine levels in the blood can lead to nervousness, tremors and muscle weakness.

What nutrients does dulse contain?

Dulse is bursting with healthy minerals, including zinc, magnesium, calcium, selenium, iron and potassium. These ensure a strengthened immune system and have an anti-inflammatory effect. A big plus of the algae is its content of important trace elements such as silicon, copper and manganese. These are very rarely found in food.

Dulse is also one of the few plant-based sources of vitamin B12 and is therefore a popular food supplement, especially among vegans and vegetarians. Besides numerous vitamins, dulse also contains antioxidants. These are known to slow down the internal and external ageing process.

We have already mentioned the high protein and iodine content of the algae several times in this article. Dulse consists of 60 percent protein! Even though the algae is low in fat, it still shines with its content of omega 3 fatty acids. These strengthen bones and joints and have a positive effect on our heart health.

How do you use dulse?

Depending on the product, dulse appears either fresh, dried as flakes or in powder form. The fresh seaweed can be enjoyed steamed briefly as a side dish similar to spinach.

Most dulse products are available either as flakes or powder. The flakes can be snacked on their own or cooked briefly for use in soups or as a salad topping. Dulse powder can be used as a tasty seasoning over all kinds of dishes or for an extra dose of nutrients in a smoothie.

Conclusion

The edible alga dulse is excellently suited for the culinary enhancement of dishes. With their savoury, nutty taste, they can be used in a variety of ways in the kitchen. Depending on the product type, the edible algae is available fresh, dried or as a powder.

Dulse is a real powerhouse of valuable nutrients! It is rich in vegetable amino acids and has a high iodine content. Thanks to its numerous minerals and vitamins, the alga has many health-promoting effects. It can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and have a detoxifying effect. No wonder dulse is becoming an increasingly popular food supplement.

(Cover photo: unsplash / The Tampa Bay Estuary Program)

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