To acquire the best wakame in the world, Eden has changed suppliers for wakame flakes to the Riken Food Company of Sendai, Japan. Established in 1917, the Riken Company has been supplying the finest wakame to their home market for the past forty years and has established a worldwide reputation of producing the finest wakame. While most wakame today comes from Korea and China*, Riken's is 100 percent Japanese and the Riken plant in Sendai is Japan's only wakame processing facility. As Eden has supplied wakame for over thirty-five years to their home market, it is an honor to have established this improved and coveted supplier relationship.
Wakame (Undaria pinnatifida) is a long, delicate sea vegetable with leaves that resemble feathers. It first became known in the United States as the mild tasting, bright green that is an essential part of miso soup. Eden Foods helped to popularize wakame in the West by introducing convenient wakame flakes - referred to as 'wakame chan' or little wakame in Japan - which quickly re-hydrate and are ready to eat.
Wakame varies greatly depending upon ocean water quality and temperature, method of growing (wild or cultivated), as well as harvesting and handling methods. The variety of wakame used to make EDEN Wakame Flakes is Sanriku-san, meaning top quality and highly valued. It grows wild in strong Arctic currents off the Sanriku seashore of northeast Japan.
EDEN Wakame is hand harvested from February to April by farmers in boats using long poles with blades attached to cut the fronds loose. Long handle rakes are used to gather the long fronds of cut wakame as it floats to the surface. The fronds are taken ashore and sun dried. To make wakame flakes, the wakame is washed and then blanched in salt water at 190°F for about thirty seconds to replicate a method used for centuries of washing it in seawater. This turns the wakame from brown to green. After blanching it is immersed in ice water to remove as much salt as possible. The main rib is cut out and the leaf tips are trimmed. It is rinsed again to reduce sodium, then air dried to form tiny, tight curls of dried wakame before packaging. Twenty-five (25) processes are employed from leaf to flakes, assuring purity while preserving nutrient content and producing an instantly usable wakame that is convenient, quick and easy.
EDEN Wakame Flakes are low sodium with 90mg per serving, ideal for those who need low sodium and the benefit of the wealth of minerals, vitamins, polysaccharides, and other nutrients in wakame. Like all sea vegetables, wakame is traditionally valued for its ability to cleanse the blood and help the body eliminate toxins. High in iodine, it was historically important for preventing goiter. Wakame is high in alginic acid, a polysaccharide that protects the plant from bacteria and fungi. Research at McGill University demonstrated that "alginic acid binds with heavy metals in the body, from all sources, renders them insoluble, and causes them to be eliminated." Wakame has been used for centuries in China and Japan to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, benefits modern research confirm. Research also shows that wakame may help prevent the growth of some cancerous tumors, helps to metabolize lipid fatty acids in the liver, and helps to treat obesity. In Japan it is believed to make skin and hair most beautiful.
EDEN Wakame Flakes are strong and hold up well in cooking. People have commented, "This is what wakame flakes used to be a long, long time ago." They are quickly restored to tenderness by soaking for 2 to 3 minutes for marinated dishes, casseroles, and salads. For soup or broth no soaking is necessary, simply place in the cooking water. The Wakame Flakes come in 30 serving, reclosable 30 gram packages.
Quick One Cup Miso Soup: in a small saucepan place 1/2 teaspoon EDEN Wakame Flakes in 1 cup boiling water. Reduce flame, puree 1 teaspoon EDEN Organic Mugi Miso with a bit of broth and add in. Simmer 2 minutes, add 1 tablespoon chopped scallion and serve hot. Onions, carrots, EDEN Shiitake and Maitake Mushrooms only make it better.
* Prior to 1990 almost 100% of the wakame sold in the world was of Japanese origin. Since that time Japan has been experiencing strong competition from their neighbors and today, even in Japan, China has a 62% market share and Korea a 22% share of wakame sales. Ranked as far as quality goes the Japanese is by far the best, Korean is next best, and the Chinese is the thinnest and lowest quality. Consistent with our founding principles, Eden has chosen to exclusively support the Japanese wild wakame harvesters of northeast Japan.
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