Large quantities of kombu
For the last 1500 years, the chinese have eaten
different specie of kelp. It is often served with pork and soja. It is cheap
and also a good substitute for fresh vegetables at a time of the year when
they are scarce. In China and Japan dried kelp, also known as kombu, is
consumed. The kelp is often harvested on the beach, but since the 1940īs,
it has been cultivated from special rafts. Annually, about 700 000 ton is
harvested, which results in about 100 000 ton of kombu.
In Europe kelp was previously collected on beaches and layed directly on the fields as fertilizer. It has also been used as cow, horse and sheep feed.
During the 17th centuary, kelp was dried and burnt, thereafter
the ash was used in the production of glass, but of bad quality. The ash
has also been used as glazing in the production of ceramics.
Cured goitreIn the early 19th centuary, it was discovered that dried and burnt kelp contained a basic element - iodine. In one ton of ash it was possible to extract up to 15 kg iodine. At that time goitre was a dangerous illness and iodine was used to cure it. Years later, an ore was discovered that contained iodine and the use of kelp ash declined and disappeared.
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