Sea spaghetti (also called thongweed or buttonweed) is another of the large brown seaweeds, although it is not closely related to the kelps or the wracks. It grows explosively up to 3 m long and can form dense mats near the shore which can cover large areas. The young shoots are very good to eat raw and taste a bit like asparagus.
They grow from small button like structures, from which a single front develops which branches in two, which branches in two, which branches in two…you know what happens!
Sea spaghetti can be only found in the East of the Atlantic, from Portugal to Norway, but it is most common around the British Isles.
Mild, crunchy and moorish. Best used rehydrated, quickly stir-fried with garlic until bright green. Add lemon or lime juice and eat.
Typical Nutritional value per 100g dry weight
|Sea Spaghetti||Content||% RDA|
|Dietary Fiber||31 g||–|
|Fat, total||2.7 g||–|
|Saturated fat||0.4 g||–|
|Mono unsaturated fat||0.4 g||–|
|poly unsaturated fat||0.8 g||–|
|Vitamin A – retinol||253 mcg||32%|
|Vitamin D – calciferol||0.3 mcg||6%|
|Vitamin E – tocopherols||5.8 mg||48%|
|Vitamin C – ascorbic acid||66 mg||83%|
|Vitamin B1 – thiamin||0.3 mg||27%|
|Vitamin B2 – riboflavin||4.5 mg||321%|
|Vitamin B7 – biotin (H)||33 mcg||66%|
|Vitamin B9 – folic acid||60 mcg||30%|
Even though sea spaghetti contains less minerals and vitamins than most other seaweeds, it is rich in polysaccharides such as laminaran. These substances are known to assist the immune system. Sea spaghetti is also known to have anti-microbial and anti-oxidative properties.