What The Heck Is Kombu?

What The Heck Is Kombu?

Dried Kombu, a member of the kelp family, is a pretty versatile kitchen tool loaded with health benefits and taste. It adds a nice flavour to your favourite dishes, supplies vital nutrients and minerals to our bodies, and aids in digestion when you are consuming beans or any protein for that matter. 

It has a distinct flavour, slightly salty and a subtle sweetness make it more palatable than some of the others. So when we say get your veggies, don't forget that means your sea vegetables too. 

Combo will not only improve brain health, muscle and prostate function it also contains fucoidan, which protects us from radiation.  It’s also high in minerals such as calcium, iron, iodine, and potassium. 

Speaking of iron, it turns out that sea vegetables are actually a bioavailable source of iron, which just so happens to also be accompanied by a decent amount of vitamin C. Since iron requires vitamin C this is a win, win. 

A little known secret is that combo and various other sea vegetables contain a mineral called vanadium, along with a number of enzymes. Why is this important? They play a role in carbohydrate metabolism and regulation of blood sugar. While the research is still young in this area it is something to take note of.

Did I mention the anti-inflammatory properties? Don’t forget the heart health aspect as well,  lowers cholesterol.

For those concerned about a family history of estrogen-related cancers, including breast cancer, you may want to make this and others in the family of sea vegetables a staple in your diet. 

So how can you incorporate this into your diet? A couple of easy ways is to make vegetarian broth with it. 

I like to have miso (organic, non-gmo) soup and add my kombu to that. Fill a pot with 4 cups of water, add 4 strips of comb that are about 6” each. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes and serve. At this point you could add red miso if you like more flavour and a few green onions. I personally don’t like to use unfermented soy so I would not be adding soy sauce, nor would I add tofu. But that’s  personal preference, you could do both. You can also use that leftover combo for other recipes as well. Waste not,want not.

I always throw a couple of pieces into my beans when preparing. The amino acid in kombu helps to soften the beans and makes them easier to digest. Just add 4 strips of comb cut into 6” pieces to your pot of cooking beans. Remember that soaking your beans makes them easier to digest as well, so if you are soaking them overnight you can wait till you cook them to add the kombu or soak them with it. After an hour or two the kombu will all but disintegrate so no need to remove, just serve and enjoy.

Like to make stews? kombu is great for vegetarian stews containing root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and turnips.

Want to add it to a salad? Go for it! Just place it in a pot and simmer in water for about an hour or so, until soft. You can cut it into strips and add it to your favourite salad.

You can use it as a condiment if you like as well. I like to use this if I run our of dulse. Just roast it in a dry skillet over med heat, until crisp. Crumble or grind it for a finer powder.This is a great salt substitute. I love adding it to my grains and vegetables. 

No matter how you decide to get it into your daily regime, just make sure that you do.


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