Wakame is a type of seaweed that belongs to the same family as kelp.
Wakame can be found throughout Japan, and wakame farming is an active industry in Aomori. It is the most common edible seaweed and a key ingredient in Japanese cooking. Wakame are processed and sold in various forms including raw wakame, cooked, dried, salted, charcoal dried, and simmer-dried.
Though the vast majority of wakame available in Japan are farmed, the town of Fukaura in Aomori specializes in natural wakame. They were the first in 50 years to adopt the traditional method of drying wakame from Imabetsu, Aomori, called yaki-boshi-hai, in which they bake and dry the seaweed in ash. It allows for the preservation of the bright colors, the flavor, and aroma of wakame.
Wakame contains high amounts of minerals such as calcium, iron, and phosphate, and is a fiber rich food. It also contains vitamin K, thus considered to be a good food for bone maintenance. It is recommended to season wakame with vinegar to maximize mineral absorption. As a low-calorie food, it is also a popular ingredient for dieting.
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