Both belonging to the brown algae class, Saccharina Latissima and Alaria Esculenta, or sugar kelp and winged kelp as they are more popularly known, share some distinct similarities and differences. These two types of seaweed have a strong preference for the colder season, growing through the winter and requiring harvest during the spring. While both seaweeds are almost a dark-olive in color with hints of yellow, their shape and taste differ completely.
(Pictured: Sugar Kelp)
Saccharina Latissima has long blades with waved edges, resembling that of a lasagna noodle. The flavor is mild, though it does possess a sweeter quality than alaria. When grown, the plant produces mannitol, a natural sugar ─ hence its nickname ‘sugar kelp’. Though it still has an umami flavor, it is weaker and more subtle than alaria. While sugar kelps name is directly related to its taste, alaria was nicknamed for its wing shaped blades. This kelp has a rich umami flavor that is very similar to Japanese Wakame. For this reason, Alaria is perfectly suited for miso soups and other broths.
These winter crops are both strong in iodine, calcium, potassium and much more. They make for the perfect addition to any dish whether that be a soup, salad, or sandwich. Or if you choose, they are a great snack all on their own.