What tastes the best in the world? Chances are good that you guessed it right – it’s the bacon!
Being a vegetarian means you can’t truly satisfy your taste buds since bacon is a NO NO. But the good news is that researchers have patented a new strain of seaweed that tastes just like BACON when cooked.
Seaweed belongs to marine algae family. If you have never seen it, think of it as something incredibly similar to translucent red lettuce. It grows quicker than most veggies and has a lot of nutritional value – more than what you get from kale.
Chris Langdon and his team started researching seaweed so that they can grow food quickly for sea snails. The research team wasn’t focusing on the taste but ended up with a strain that would tastes like bacon when cooked. However, it was a colleague of Langdon who told the team that they might be growing bacon-seaweed as soon as he looked at the crop. When the team tested this strain of seaweed, they were surprised to find out that it tasted exactly like bacon.
Toombs then began working with the university’s Food Innovation Center, which created a range of foods with the seaweed as its main ingredient.
Langdon said no US companies grow red algae for people to eat, but the seaweed had been consumed by people in northern Europe for centuries.
“This stuff is pretty amazing,” Langdon told OSU. “When you fry it, which I have done, it tastes like bacon, not seaweed. And it’s a pretty strong bacon flavor.”
Though no analysis has been done yet to find out whether commercializing the bacon-seaweed would be practical, the team thinks the vegan and vegetarian markets may be interested. Toombs’ MBA students are hard at work on a marketing plan for a new line of specialty foods.
Some red algae is sold in the US now, but it is a different strain from the one harvested at OSU. Langdon says he is growing about 20 to 30 pounds of the stuff a week, but he plans to more than triple the production.
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