The book

A unique book that looks at seaweeds from a broad range of perspectives: their biology, cultural history, nutritional value, importance as food, gastronomic applications, as well as medicinal and industrial uses.

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Advance praise

“Ole G. Mouritsen has done it again!  Seaweeds parallels his Sushi in excellence of presentation.  The depth of his historic, biologic, economic, and culinary notes, including nutritional facts, is stunning.  The layout and illustrations are a visual feast.  What a fine exploration of marine meadow, forest, and garden plants.  Having read Seaweeds, you will be compelled to further explore this unique and diverse group of plants. Personally, I’ll be following his recipes.”

Louis D. Druehl, author of Pacific Seaweeds


“Ole G. Mouritsen’s Seaweeds is a wonderfully wide-ranging, beautifully illustrated introduction to these strange, underappreciated, delicious forms of life.”

Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen


Seaweeds is by far the most comprehensive, informative and creative offering on macroalgae I have ever seen. And to this wealth of information, Ole G. Mouritsen has added many personal anecdotes, unusual recipes, and beautiful pictures. Anyone with simple curiosity or extensive knowledge about marine algae will enjoy this extraordinary book.”

Shep Erhart, author of Sea Vegetable Celebration and founder of Maine Coast Sea Vegetables


“A great exploration of the wonderful world of seaweeds and, more importantly, their potential for adding deliciousness to any meal.”

René Redzepi, author of Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine and founder and head chef at award-winning Restaurant Noma


“A rare phycological masterpiece. Seaweeds is must read for anyone studying, eating, or just interested in this fascinating group of photosynthetic marine organisms. The book will be a reference for a number of years to come.”

Alan T. Critchley, coeditor of World Seaweed Resources


“In the oceans, I see a paradise full of treasures, one of which is a vast variety of seaweeds—a discovery that greatly enriches the art of gastronomy, allowing us to experience the energy and the very essence of the sea. This book is a wonderful source of knowledge, which permits us to understand better the world of seaweeds.”

Josean Alija, Head Chef, Restaurant Neruә, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

About the book

Until recently, most of us thought of seaweeds as nothing but a nuisance, clinging to our legs as we swim in the ocean and stinking up the beach as they rot in the sun. With the ever-growing popularity of sushi restaurants across the globe, however, seaweeds are increasingly finding their way onto our plates. And even as we dine with delight on maki, miso soup, and seaweed salads, very few of us have any idea of the nutritional value of seaweeds. Here celebrated scientist Ole G. Mouritsen, drawing on his fascination with, and enthusiasm for, Japanese cuisine, champions seaweeds as a staple food while simultaneously explaining their biology, ecology, cultural history, and gastronomy.

Mouritsen takes readers on a comprehensive tour of seaweeds, describing what seaweeds actually are— marine algae, not plants—and how people of different cultures have utilized them since prehistoric times for a whole array of purposes—as food and fodder, for the production of salt, in medicine and cosmetics, as fertilizer, in construction, and for a number of industrial end uses, to name just a few. He describes the vast abundance of minerals, trace elements, proteins, vitamins, dietary fiber, and precious polyunsaturated fatty acids found in seaweeds, and provides instructions and recipes on how to prepare a variety of dishes that incorporate raw and processed seaweeds.

Approaching the subject from both a gastronomic and a scientific point of view, Mouritsen sets out to examine the past and present uses of this sustainable resource, keeping in mind how it could be exploited in the future. Because seaweeds can be cultivated in large quantities in the ocean in highly sustainable ways, they are ideal for battling hunger and obesity alike.

With hundreds of superb illustrations depicting the wealth of species, colors, and shapes of these marine algae, Seaweeds: Edible, Available, and Sustainable makes a strong case for granting these ‘vegetables from the sea’ a prominent place in our kitchens.

Table of contents

The people behind the book

* Ole G. Mouritsen is a scientist and professor of biophysics with interests in research communication and the science of cooking.

Jonas Drotner Mouritsen is a graphic designer and owner of the design company Chromascope.

* Mariela Johansen has Danish roots, lives in Canada, and holds an MA in humanities with a special interest in ancient Greece.

About the author

Ole G. Mouritsen is a scientist and professor of biophysics at the University of Southern Denmark where he is director of memphys-Center for Biomembrane Physics.  He is an elected fellow of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences, and the Danish Gastronomical Academy. His research is directed towards a broad range of basic science questions as well as their applications within biotechnology, biomedicine, and food science. He is the recipient of a number of prestigious prizes for his work, most recently the Danish National Prize for Research Communication (2007), the British Royal Society of Chemistry Bourke Award (2008), and the European Lipid Science Award (2011).

In his spare time, the author cooks and furthers his knowledge of food science and gastronomy. In addition he writes popular articles and books about the science of cooking and taste, often in collaboration with well-known chefs.

In addition to numerous scientific articles, Ole G. Mouritsen is the author of Life-as a Matter of Fat (2005), Sushi. Food for the Eye, the Body & the Soul (2009), and Umami (2011).