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Scientists Develop Seaweed That Tastes Like Bacon

07/17/2015 10:38 EDT | Updated 07/17/2015 10:59 EDT

Scientists in the US have used their power for good and developed a new strain of antioxidant-packed seaweed that tastes like bacon.

That’s right. Bacon.

When fried, the dulse seaweed, which resembles translucent red lettuce, takes on the curious flavor of bacon, researchers said -- a characteristic that could be particularly useful for vegans but also for health-conscious bacon lovers.

Because according to the Oregon State University scientists who developed and patented the new strain, in addition to tasting like the salty pork product, the seaweed packs a powerful punch: protein, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that are equal to twice the nutritional value of kale.

Originally grown to serve as feed for abalone, a delicacy in East Asia, scientists finally realized its commercial potential after being visited by a business professor looking for entrepreneurial projects for his students.

Instead of just rearing healthy abalone, business professor Chuck Toombs helped Chris Langdon realize that they were sitting on what could become the next big ‘superfood.’

And while food scientists have managed to develop dulse-based rice crackers and salad dressings, its most exciting flavor potential lies in its dormant bacon profile -- characteristics that are released when fried.

Chefs in the Portland area such as Jason Ball, who had previously worked at the University of Copenhagen’s Nordic Food Lab, are now testing dulse in their kitchens to explore the seaweed’s culinary potential.

Ball is currently testing dulse veggie burgers, trail mix and even beer.

Dulse grows wild along the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines. Langdon's strain of dulse is cultured in tanks of seawater, making it accessible year round.

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