Spirulina and Cochayuyo

Anyone for Sea vegetables?

Seaweeds are Marine Algae growing on the shores of our beautiful planet, covered mostly by water. There are thousands of species but only a handful of these prime edibles. Humans have been using seaweed for food, medicine and fertilizers for thousands of years. Sea vegetables can be found growing both in the marine salt waters as well as in fresh water lakes and seas. Why would anyone want to eat sea vegetables? Because they offer the broadest range of minerals of any food, containing virtually all the minerals found in the ocean-the same minerals that are found in human blood. Sea vegetables are an excellent source of iodine and vitamin K, a very good source of the B-vitamin folate, magnesium, and a good source of iron and calcium. So here’s a very easy sea vegetable salad recipes which also happens to be absolutely delicious, nutritious and organic.

Durvillaea Antarctica aka Cochayuyo –Yes, it’s ugly.

The Durvillaea Antarctica, or better known as “cochayuyo,” is recognized by its peculiar pattern of brown strips which can be as long as 15 meters.  It has an intensely salty and marine aroma, and it is a traditional ingredient of southern Chilean cuisine, especially on the coasts. The word “cochayuyo” comes from the Quechua language “qhutra juju, “which means “sea plant”. The stem is round and has air spaces. In central and southern Chile it is called “ulte,” “lunfo” in Valdivia, and “raguay” in Chiloé. “Cochayuyo” was consumed by the indigenous communities that inhabited the area of Valdivia and Osorno as a replacement for meat because of its high protein content.  Today it is appreciated for its remarkable medicinal properties. It is recommended for weight control, to lower cholesterol, plus it is an energizer thanks to its vitamins and minerals.

Sautéed Cochayuyo

2 cups of Cochayuyo, cooked from the previous day
1 small onion, thinly diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 fresh Ginger
3 tablespoons Soya sauce
1 cup cilantro leaves
½ cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons oil
Salt and pepper.

Add the onion, garlic and ginger in the mortar. Now crush these ingredients by firmly pounding with the pestle. Having made the ingredients in the mortar into one mixture, it is now time to sauté. In a large heavy and sauté pan or cast-iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the mixture and soya sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté for 3 minutes until well blended.  Add Cochayuyo and toss to coat.  Simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with cilantro.

Arthrospira algae aka Spirulina

One of first known records of Spirulina (Arthrospira algae) being utilized as food by humans comes from Mesoamerica. Spirulina is also believed to have been used as food in North Africa since the 9th century. Cortez reported that the Aztecs used spirulina as food when he arrived to their empire and there is for instance an illustration in the Florentine Codex that depicts Aztecs harvesting spirulina algae off lakes by using ropes to skim the surface. According to the Florentine Codex, the algae was then dried into square cakes and used as food. According to historians, the Aztecs where not the only ones who harvested spirulina; it was an appreciated source of nutrients for many different people in Mesoamerica. The Aztecs called spirulina teocuitlatl, which roughly translates “excrement of a stone”. They seem to have stopped using spirulina as food during the 16th century. During the 1970s, Mexican company “Sosa Texcoco S.A” established the first large-scale Spirulina production plant in Mexico.

In the wild, spirulina is found in lakes with a high pH-value and high levels of carbonate and bicarbonate in tropical and subtropical climates. It can be dried and served as a whole food but is also a popular dietary supplement. You can purchase spirulina flakes, tablets and powder if you wish to add it to your food or to the food of your pets. Spirulina is promoted to extreme vegetarians as a source of Vitamin B12 which they desire to get from non-animal sources.

Spirulina Salad on Avocado

1 ripe avocado
4 tbsp fresh chives or parsley
5 cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp Spirulina flakes
1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
fresh ground pepper.


Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit.  Chop tomatoes and chives and mix with lemon juice, spirulina, salt and pepper. Stuff the mixture in the avocado and serve on a bed of lettuce. Served with a salad on the side, this is a full meal and it will keep you full and energized!

About zoom50

“It’s amazing how people can get so excited about a rocket to the moon and not give a damn about smog, oil leaks, the devastation of the environment with pesticides, hunger, disease”
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2 Responses to Spirulina and Cochayuyo

  1. akamonsoon says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I have heard great things about the use of seaweed & spirulina. I have hypothyroidism and it has been suggested to me to take seaweed extract to help keep thyroid levels appropriate. I’ve also heard that spirulina is great for men in that it keeps the prostate healthy.

  2. zoom50 says:

    Hi Monsson! You’re very welcome. I have heard that Bladderwrack and hijiki fall into this category to, but it is unwise to take too much. It is said that that a reasonable portion of bladderwrack may contain the U.S. adult recommended dietary allowance of iodine. I read a few articles on these ‘superfoods’ and you’re right studies have shown that Spirulina may help the immune system fight off cancer cells by increasing natural killer cells. Cheers, to our health!

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