kelp
PHOTOGRAPH BY ETHAN DANIELS/GETTY

5 Creative Uses For Seaweed In The Home

Just look at what it can do for your health, pets, soil, and even beer!

September 2, 2015

Kelp—a group of brown macroalgae or seaweeds—grows in tall underwater forests in cold, shallow coastal waters around the world. Kelp plants can grow to more than 150 feet in length, with a single anchor that extends to a floating gas-filled bulb attached to long, slippery blades. These large, fast-growing seaweeds are extraordinarily versatile; here are our favorite ways to use it at home. 

1. For centuries, native peoples in the Americas used kelp for fertilizer. Kelp extracts contain small amounts of plant nutrients, including many trace minerals, as well as hormones like cytokinins and auxins that stimulate root growth. Amend your garden soil with kelp meal or liquid kelp before planting. 

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2. Rich in iodine and calcium, kelp is used as a dietary supplement and for treatment of thyroid issues. Look for organic kelp capsules to naturally supplement your iodine intake, or make your own with dried kelp powder. 

Related: The Best Foods For Your Liver

3. Glutamate-rich kelp is a cornerstone of East Asian cuisine. Make a rich soup stock from dried kelp (kombu) and use it to add umami oomph to soups and simmered vegetables. 

4. Pets also love kelp, which contains essential minerals required in their diet. Look for kelp-enriched pet food brands like Orijen or sprinkle kelp powder over your pet’s food. 

5. Finally, if you like your beer on the briny side, Tofino Brewing Company offers a Kelp Stout made from bull kelp harvested along Vancouver Island’s western coast that is added to the beer after fermentation.