Ulva lactuca and Ulva rigida
- Habitat: A common and easy to identify seaweed found in rockpool edges and clinging to rocks and (epiphytically) to other larger seaweeds, between mean high and low tide marks on sheltered to semi-exposed coast.
- Distribution: 4/5 – Common within its season and habitat, seldom hard to find
- Identification: 5/5 – Vibrant, thin green sheets, up to 45cm long (usually less). Pale green when young, bright green when mature, dark green when old. If it looks tubular you probably have gutweed, which can be used in similar ways but is much harder to clean.
- Harvest: Best February – July, still useable up to September
- Edibility: 5/5 Sea lettuce is pleasant if unspectacular fresh, becoming truly delicious when dried – with a rich deep flavour. Eat as crisps or crumble over soups, stews, salads, fish, sushi etc. Not really one for cooking, but pickles well. Very high in protein. Wash thoroughly and dry in a dehydrator, warm, airy spot, or in the sun until bone dry and crumbly.
Sea lettuce is high in umami and I use it in my Umami Pickle, made with pepper dulse, dried cep, cloveroot syrup and ground ivy vinegar. Its culinary dynamite.