Ulva lactuca – and species of the Ulva genus are some of the easiest seaweeds to identify. Emerald green, delicious, very easy to incorporate into your everyday meals and looking pretty much like a lettuce of the sea – this is a great one to have one your foraging list whether you are a beginner or an experienced salty sea dog. Nutritionally it is high in protein, iron, and other minerals and vitamins.
The general rule of thumb for seaweeds is if you can break it apart easily with your fingers, you can eat it raw. Ulva is a single-celled seaweed, and is thin enough to eat raw. Freshly foraged and rinsed briefly to get rid of any sand and little shells, you can use it right away. Kept fresh it will last up to 5 days in your fridge; otherwise, sun-dried on a tray, it will last years in a sealed container. Gastronomically pleasing and a super-food to boot, incorporate some into salads, cook like spinach, pop a handful into soup, use in sushi, as a sandwich filler, marinade a bowlful overnight, steep some in gin… It’s beautiful as a Dirty Martini cocktail garnish. Or use dried sea lettuce crumbled into rice dishes, over popcorn, in a flavoured seaweed butter and in a sea salt grinding mix.