Edible Seaweed: Powder vs Flakes

Flaked Kombu kelp by Mara Seaweed

How does form affect flavour in edible seaweed?

Co-founder Xa Milne has all the answers:

"Simply, the smaller and finer the grain, the bigger the taste. So, per teaspoon of seaweed powder there's more surface area to deliver flavour than in seaweed flakes.

Dried seaweed powder offers an immediate intensity, whilst blending seamlessly into food. Seaweed flakes however deliver slow-release umami bombs and a little texture, perfect as a seasoning or a finishing touch.

Meanwhile, fresh whole leaf seaweed tastes surprisingly mild. The savoury flavour deepens with chewing, releasing a sweet aftertaste. In cooking, whole leaf seaweed is often used to add base notes to stocks. 

Seaweed flakes for a considered flavour

Dried seaweed flakes deliver colour and texture, offering a satisfying mouth feel and slower taste delivery.

These millimetre-sized seaweed particles melt pleasingly on the tongue, allowing protein taste receptors to welcome glutamates into the body. It's this umami effect which makes seaweed an effective salt replacement and seasoning.

Take, for example, Dulse flakes. With their meaty, bacony, anchovy notes they're adept at enhancing the savoury richness of tomato stews, and excel when combined with punchy spices in a marinade for Specially Selected Pork, Scotch Lamb or Scotch Beef. Try Dulse with other umami flavours such as peppers, cured meat, onions, mushrooms and Parmesan too.

Mara Seaweed's founders were drawn to the versatility of the flake. A tablespoon of Kombu kelp flakes makes a robust stock (try 30g in 1.8L of water), whilst our finely tuned blend, Shony, balances sweet with savoury for a well-rounded flavour.

Seaweed powder for an instant boost

Powdered seaweed is often the chef’s choice, but it's also perfect for those who require a finer consistency or want a stronger burst of flavour. A little goes a long way as the flavour is concentrated and adds intense, salty piquancy to dishes. At home, it's a natural choice for boosting your iodine levels in fruit or veg smoothies.

Powders blend instantly and successfully with flour and other dry ingredients in baking, offering a dash of delicious umami dust in bread, scones and biscuits. The herbier, saltier notes of Kombu powder also create a lovely coating for fish when combined with cornflour or herbs. The alginates in seaweed powder can be used to thicken sauces or emulsions too.

Wet kombu leaf in Mara Seaweed factory

A word on whole leaf seaweed

Although Mara doesn't currently sell seaweed by the leaf (technically known as a frond), that doesn't mean we can't share our knowledge!

For the keen forager, new season shoots of Dulse (Palmaria Palmata) or Wakame (Alaria Esculenta) are tender enough to be eaten raw and unprocessed. Chop into salads, soups, dips or lightly sautée as a side dish.

Kombu (Laminaria Digitata), or Kelp, is the basis of Japanese dashi stock. The wet, fibrous leaves can also be sliced into matchstick-sized pieces and softened in soy sauce and ginger for a tasty accompaniment to fish or meat. You can find the recipe in The Seaweed Cookbook.

When dried, the natural saltiness of seaweed increases by around six times, which means a stronger taste. It also has a long shelf life, yet can be easily re-hydrated. Try chewing on some as a veggie version of biltong or jerky.

A healthy addition to the larder

Whether dried or wet, flaked or powder, seaweed contains approximately 85% less sodium than gourmet or table salt. It's loaded with potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and iodine: mineral salts which give it flavour, and - you have been warned - make seaweed just a tiny bit moreish too."

Visit the Seaweed Shop 




  • Hello!
    so i have been taking sea vegetables in their powdered state for a long time now and am a huge fan and advocate for their health benefits and life-promoting effects in our body. However, as i get more and more involved with sea vegetables, i am finding a ton of new varieties and information that can be quite time consuming to get through and get definitive and accurate information.

    I wanted to leave this comment, in hopes someone who created this blog and/or someone who is going to be reading this can help me out with a certain situation i am in, its not something huge – but none the less, its an important and beneficial question i am sure.

    So i am looking on the Maine Coast Sea Vegetables website and am shopping for some new and some of my favorites and i was not aware this company offered not only the whole dried form of the most popular species, but they also offer pre-ground and powdered forms of some of my favorite sea vegetables. I personally consume all of my sea veggies by loading the powder into capsules, and i only will purchase the highest quality and wild/organic sea weeds to take as daily multi-mineral supplements.

    So what i have come across here on this site is this, 3 options – but 2 being more viable for what i am wanting to use the seaweeds for – and thats to capsulate the powder and take on a daily basis; However, what im stuck on here is deciding on whether or not i want to purchase the sea-veggie (in this case i am looking at Irish Moss aka Sea Moss), and they have 2 options for me – i can either buy 1 pound of organic and wild-crafted irish moss in the form of flakes – basically they took the seaweed and chopped it down into tiny little flakes, perfect for adding to food etc. – OR – i can get my 1 pound pre-ground and in powder form already, which would be easier for me to load up into capsules as i wouldn’t have to go through the process of grinding the flakes myself to make the powder. So what i was thinking when i came across this is, being the irish moss in powder form is technically processed to a certain degree, and may or may not have been exposed to god knows what – since it was originally in its whole natural seaweed form when they first found and harvested it, then who knows what kind of process they use to grind the sea vegetables up, not saying its anything extraordinary however i am considering going with the flakes versus the powder and just grinding the flakes myself, since this would put me closer to the more natural form of the irish moss as its found in nature. in my head, the powder must have gone through a whole lot more processing than the flakes, as i am sure there are really tight rules and regulations as to how fine and how thouroughly the seaweed is powdered before being added to the baggies for sale to public.
    im sure its the same for the flakes, i just feel – you know in theory, it would make more sense to get the flakes over the powder to maximize on the sea vegetable itself.

    Am i just going way to far into this or does that make sense to anybody else? hahaha

    Anyway! i am just wondering if anybody would be willing to shed some light and/or insight on this for me, just so i can hear from other sea-vegetable lovers out there and how they feel about this as well.
    I do take and plan to take these new products im getting from the maine coast website daily in the form of capsules as a multi-mineral formula that is also dis-ease-protective.

    I currently take 10g of a kelp species & also 6.5g of irish moss + 6.5g of Bladderwrack. Absolutely love these vegetables from the sea, they are really amazing and have changed my life like nothing else – the way i feel now, from the inside out – it is truly amazing. i have never felt this good health wise, its really remarkable and i feel that everybody everywhere in the world should be getting in a healthy dose of sea-vegetables as well!

    There is really no way around it, if you want to get the good and much-needed minerals in a balanced state – you must be supplementing with some types of sea-vegetables, and its best to take a variety – i find Seamoss (irish moss) and Bladderwrack are the two best for supplemental usage in my opinion, only because of the very large array of minerals found in these two – its astounding! roughly 90%~95% of the minerals your body is composed of and actually needs replenished every single day is found in these two alone, really impressive stats for just 1-2 foods – and very easy to get into the body.

    So thats that, i also started taking kelp powder – its the Ascophyllum nodosum species, and i only have it and am taking it because i found it on the mountainroseherbs website while shopping for some other herbs, and thought this was the exact kelp that i heard so much good about; however shortly after arriving, i dug a little deeper in my research on it and found that its actually not the species i was initially interested in getting into my diet, but rather one of MANY kelp species available, something i did not know had existed prior to me purchasing this bag.
    What i was actually looking for while shopping that site for a kelp powder and/or “flake” was the variety known as Kombu, which is apart of the Laminariacea family. More specifically, its Laminaria digitata that i wanted!
    This is the one that you should want as well, very high in minerals and many other health benefits and goodness.
    Get yourself some.
    ive found a great source, its called Maine Coast Sea Vegetables and they offer whole form, or flakes and also powdered forms of most all edible and the most popular species at very good pricing, and they are all 100% organic and wild-crafted from the best ocean waters in the world.

    Thanks in advance, and god bless you!
    - Brian

    Brian K. Baer
  • Tank a lot for this information, and let me few time to think before decided to order


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