Prep 20 mins
Cook 5 mins
All along the Pacific coastline you can come across freshly beached bull kelp (aka “giant kelp”) on the sands at the ocean. During a trip to Alaska a few years back I tasted pickled bull kelp, and liked it so much I brought a jar home for my husband to try. It seems natural to glean fresh kelp on the beaches and use them for food, it makes me wonder why more people don’t do it. This simple method of preparing bull kelp pickles is based on one from “Cooking Alaskan” by Alaska Northwest Books, the recipe by C. Joe Murray, Jr. from Angoon, Alaska. The recipe makes 1 to 2 jars of pickled kelp – if your piece of kelp is very large, you might need to make a double or triple batch of the brine and add more onion, garlic, and lemon juice… it all depends on how much kelp you have and how many jars of pickles you want. :) The pickles can also be hot-packed for longer storage canning. Would also make great gifts!
Pickling brine for kelp
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 2⁄3 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons pickling spices
- 1 long firm fresh bull kelp
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced (1 clove per jar)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice (1 tsp per jar)
- Go beach combing locally (hopefully you’re in an area without lots of water pollution, as I wouldn’t use kelp from a polluted area – check with local authorities to find out, first) and find a freshly-beached bull kelp, making sure it’s firm and fresh. Get 1 or 2 glass jars with lids and make sure they’re well washed.
- Cut off the hollow portion of the kelp (discarding the bulb) and wash it well in fresh water, making sure to remove any/all sand and detritus.
- Cut it into 1/2-inch rings and rinse in fresh water again, draining it in a colander.
- Combine the brine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let boil for one minute, then remove from heat.
- Place the kelp rings into glass jars and add slices of onion, a minced clove of garlic, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice per jar.
- Add the hot brine to the jar(s) then refrigerate for at least 48 hours before serving.