Wakame seaweed (UNDARIA PINNATIFIDA) is a brown seaweed that has been known and consumed since 700 B.C.
In terms of popularity, it is Japan's third favorite, after Nori and Kombu.
Wakame seaweed is native to Japanese seas and grows in deep waters on the rocky seafloor. It reaches about 7 meters [23 feet] in length.
It develops in the winter months and is harvested in the spring, using a boat and a long rake fitted with a hook. Once brought ashore, the seaweed is dried by hanging it from a cable, or else by briefly dipping it in boiling water and then plunging it immediately into cold water, before leaving it to dry. Thanks to the scalding, the growth of microorganisms is prevented. This allows the sale of the plant as a fresh vegetables (in Japan it is in fact sold at the market, along with seasonal vegetables).
Because of its delicate taste, in the West it's one of the most enjoyed seaweeds among those who are unfamiliar with the taste of kelp.
Wakame seaweed is especially rich in protein, calcium, and iron. The iron, in particular, contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system and helps to reduce feelings of tiredness and fatigue. It also contains large amounts of vitamins and of iodine.
It is recognized for its important beneficial properties in hair, nail, and skin care.
It favors the elimination of fats and is great for cleansing the body.
In cooking it is appreciated for its hazelnut aftertaste. It is an ideal ingredient in the making of tasty soups, mixed salads, mixed vegetable dishes, fish dishes, and can be added to vegetables, hearty soups, light soups, tofu, or pasta, 3-4 minutes before the completion of cooking.