Furbel­lows Phaeo­phyta (kelp)

(Sac­corhiza polyschides)

Country Life Every Week - - Kitchen Garden Cook Radicchio -

A mon­ster of a sea­weed, it’s our largest at up to four yards in length. Re­mark­ably for some­thing so large, it is an an­nual. Furbel­lows is more splen­did than beau­ti­ful. Its fronds form mas­sive fin­gers that are at­tached to a flat ‘palm’, that, in turn, is at­tached to an arm with frilled edges. Like most sea­weeds, Furbel­lows has a hold­fast to fix it to rocks. It’s a mas­sive, warty, in­verted cup, which can form a habi­tat for small marine crea­tures. Nearly all kelps are eco­log­i­cally im­por­tant for an­other rea­son—they form ex­ten­sive kelp forests. An im­por­tant in­gre­di­ent in miso soup is some­thing called kombu. Like a bayleaf, it’s re­moved af­ter cook­ing, its flavouren­hanc­ing glu­ta­mates left be­hind. Kombu is an­other kelp species, but Furbel­lows is iden­ti­cal for culi­nary pur­poses. I hang it and other kelps on my wash­ing line to dry, a habit that’s ce­mented my rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing a bit odd.

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