James Cook University just announced it has joined forces with South Pacific Seaweeds Pty Ltd., with a $1.4 million investment to help promote Green Caviar (Caulerpa lentillifera) aquaculture. They're preparing to launch the unusual vegetable into what JCU calls "the lucrative Asian seafood market."
Jim O'Brien at the university writes that "in its its primary market of Japan, Green Caviar or Umibudo is considered a delicacy. With its soft, succulent, ‘string-of-pearls' appearance, the seaweed is a popular feature of the local cuisine. The plant's texture, peppery taste, aesthetic and nutritional properties make it a favorite addition to salads and side dishes. The European and Australian markets are emerging in response to tourism and the growing ‘foodie' culture."
He adds, "Despite a relatively short cycle from planting to harvesting, seasonal conditions in Japan mean supply cannot meet demand, so the crop is then sourced from such countries as Vietnam and The Philippines. JCU researchers Prof Rocky de Nys and Dr Nicholas Paul have developed a means of producing high-quality Green Caviar that can be grown and exported year round, with improved taste, shelf-life and appearance."
A recent study on its nutritional content, conducted by Patricia Matanjun of the University of Malaysia Sabah and her team, found that Green Caviar contains very high amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, minerals, dietary fiber and more.
Orders for South Pacific Seaweeds Green Caviar can be made by calling +61 7 4159 5904. Whole Foods buyers, and those for other markets, please get on the horn.