Also commonly known as green caviar, sea grapes have been growing in popularity tremendously over the last few years, not only because of their delicious taste but also due to the huge amount of nutritional benefits that come with mixing them into a diet.
While it is commonly compared to caviar, there are a few key differences that make sea grapes incredibly unique in their flavor and texture, and a perfect side dish when you want to add a hint of delicious classiness to any meal.
Here is all you need to know about sea grapes, including how they taste, how to serve them and how you can prepare them as part of a nutritious meal in no time.
What Are Sea Grapes?
Sea grapes have been a delicacy in many parts of Asia for a few years, specifically in the Okinawa region of Japan along with the Philippines and Malaysia, however, it is only recently that these nutritious ingredients have been receiving far more attention from the rest of the world.
The reason they are often compared to caviar is because when it comes to their appearance, both have a tiny grape-ball appearance, however because it is a type of seaweed, sea grapes have a much brighter appearance which can be spotted immediately.
While there are other very similar types of seaweed that are enjoyed as a light refreshing side dish, sea grapes are known for having a much more prominent and pronounced flavor which is what makes them so incredibly popular in certain parts of the world.
What Do Sea Grapes Taste Like?
Many people describe sea grapes as having the ‘taste of the sea’ referring to their mild saltiness which is very comparable to the flavor of wakame and kombu.
Just like these other types of seaweed, the saltiness isn’t too overpowering to the point where it becomes a little unsavory and starts overpowering the main dish, instead, it’s a lot more pleasant and delicious when consumed alongside a hefty meal to help even out all the flavors involved.
Sea grapes are also widely consumed because of their texture, being tiny soft bubbles packed full of flavor that burst open with each and every bite.
The taste that comes from the bubbles has a very pleasant taste which is comparable to the liquid that comes from clams.
Sea grapes also have a hint of acidity with an incredibly sweet undertone that is a sheer delight on the tastebuds and makes these delicious caviar substitutes even more of a must-try.
Health Benefits Of Sea Grapes
Alongside the incredibly delicious and savory flavor and texture of sea grapes, another reason they have been receiving so much attention over the last few years is because of their numerous health benefits, and while some may seem fairly normal, there are others that are a little more surprising.
Sea grapes are first and foremost packed full of vitamins and minerals while also containing very high levels of iron, zinc, and calcium along with Vitamins A and C.
They are also incredibly rich in omega-3 fatty acids and hyaluronic acid which help to keep our skin clear and healthy.
However, aside from this plethora of nutritional benefits, there are actually also a few more specific benefits that come from consuming sea grapes, one of which is improving eyesight thanks to the grapes being rich in unsaturated fatty acids including AA, EPA, ALA, and DHA which also help in reducing cholesterol.
These unsaturated fatty acids also help to strengthen our bones while also reducing symptoms of arthritis.
The incredibly low-calorie count in sea grapes also enables the good bacteria to digest food which helps to improve our digestive system.
As if this wasn’t enough, sea grapes also contain Fucoidan, a natural substance which is an anti-cancer compound, making sea grapes both incredibly delicious alongside being incredibly nutrient dense and a healthy part of any meal.
How To Serve Sea Grapes
Firstly you will want to make sure that the sea grapes are prepared correctly so that they aren’t too tough to chew on and so that they give off the maximum amount of flavor possible.
To do this, simply rinse the seaweed in clean, cool water a few times, and it will be ready to go.
This is just to make sure that you get all the fishy smell out of the grapes so that they don’t give off an unpleasant aroma while you’re enjoying a meal.
Once the sea grapes are ready to serve, since they can sometimes be a little dry it is often advised to serve them alongside a dipping sauce to make them as delicious as they can be.
Soy, miso, or vinegar are usually the best ways to make sure the grapes don’t become too dried out while providing a nice mix of flavors.
Similar to caviar, sea grapes can be enjoyed in a wide variety of recipes, however they are known to compliment meat and fish-based dishes extremely well with their much softer texture.
Sea grapes are commonly served alongside sauteed pork chops along with buttered chicken or cod to make for a filling afternoon meal.
They can even be thrown into a salad mixture to make it that much more healthy while also adding a nice and soft salty flavor to the overall taste of the dish, or you can even go a step further and use them to make a nutrient-dense smoothie or slushie.
This works especially well when the grapes are mixed with a little bit of honey to create a flavor that is sweet, but also has that familiar hint of saltiness to round out the taste.
You can even skip the preparation entirely and enjoy eating the sea grapes raw.
They will still retain their full flavor and are the perfect appetizer after a hefty meal when combined with a little bit of soya sauce along with some vinegar and mustard to create a satisfying light dish that requires barely any extra ingredients or preparation time.
Whether they’re being served as a side dish to a bigger meat-based meal, or even as part of a smaller salad that can be enjoyed any time of the day, the deliciously salty taste of sea grapes has only recently begun grabbing the world’s attention, and for very good reason.
Next time you’re looking for a much cheaper substitute to caviar, or you just want an extra ingredient to add even more of a distinctive salty flavor to your favorite meals, consider making use of some delicious sea grapes.