Kelps are large seaweeds (algae) belonging to the brown algae (Phaeophyceae) in the order Laminariales. There are about 30 different genera.
Kelps grow in underwater “forests” (kelp forests) in shallow oceans, and is thought to have appeared in Miocene, 23 to 5 million years ago. The organisms require nutrient-rich water with temperatures between 6 and 14 °C (43 and 57 °F). They are known for their high growth rate — the genera Macrocystis and Nereocystis can grow as fast as half a metre a day, ultimately reaching 30 to 80 metres (100 to 260 ft).
Through the 19th century, the word “kelp” was closely associated with seaweeds that could be burned to obtain soda ash (primarily sodium carbonate). The seaweeds used included species from both the orders Laminariales and Fucales. The word “kelp” was also used directly to refer to these processed ashes.
Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelp
What Are The Nutrients in Seaweed?
Omega Fatty Acids
What Are The Health Benefits of Seaweed?
Seaweed contains high amounts of iodine, which is needed by the thyroid to help keep it working properly. However, too much iodine can also be a bad thing for the thyroid depending on your thyroid condition. Those with diseases that weaken the immune system can benefit from eating a few pieces of dried seaweed each day because seaweed contains minerals and vitamin in it that help strengthen and protect the immune system naturally. If you are looking for a way to protect yourself from colon, prostate or breast cancer, snacking on seaweed can help you do just that. Seaweed contains many antioxidants in it that help fight off the free radical cells that can cause cancer and even aging in the body. Those of you suffering from inflammatory diseases like arthritis and gout should add seaweed to your diet because it contains anti-inflammatory properties in it that can relieve inflammation and body pains naturally. Everyone can benefit from adding seaweed to their daily diet to help prevent colds, the flu and other viral and bacterial infections. Seaweed can even help everyone stay energized better than a cup of coffee can because seaweed contains B vitamins and minerals in it that help energize the body naturally. Seaweed is even good to eat daily to keep our bones and teeth healthy and strong naturally. Unbelievably, seaweed has more calcium in it than cow’s milk. See, everyone can benefit from adding seaweed to his or her diets.Source : http://voices.yahoo.com/the-heath-benefits-seaweed-10671741.html
WARNING : Kelp has a high iodine content. The iodine content varies greatly from one sample to the next. Excessive iodine can aggravate thyroid problems.
Whenever I go back to my hometown in Ayer Tawar (Sitiawan), Perak, I would get some dried kelp from the market there. I would usually have kelp in soup, braise or stew it. Kelp soup is very easy to prepare and here I have kelp in chicken soup.
Dried kelps need to be soaked in water to become soft. It will expand. Normally, I would soak more than I needed as the cleaned soft kelp can be kept in the freezer.