The popularity of sea vegetables has been growing for several years now. These beautiful products are increasingly found in supermarkets and in recipes. And with good reason! There are plenty of different sea vegetables so there is always one that fits a recipe. The salty taste and texture provides a distinct flavor experience that you can' t compare with other products. Since many of the sea vegetables we sell come from the Netherlands itself, we went looking for these salty ingredients. Our supplier Elenbaas took us there!
Our sea vegetable specialist Elenbaas
Elenbaas is our supplier for sea vegetables. This company, founded by the brothers Elenbaas, has gained a lot of experience over the years with the cultivation of different sea vegetables. Since their childhood they have been walking along the coast looking for these flavor bombs. Nowadays they have expanded to a company that can supply high quality sea vegetables all year round. Taste is extremely important and can vary greatly due to many factors. Hans Elenbaas is very critical and ensures that their standards are high!
How do you grow Sea Vegetables?
Hans was the right person to take us to the beautiful province Zeeland. In the Netherlands, Zeeland is an excellent area for growing sea vegetables. In this region there are vast fields with salty soil. This benefits the taste of sea vegetables.
Some sea vegetables are also found in the wild. Now this seems ideal because they can be picked freely. However, this is not the case. Many of these areas are protected wildlife areas, so picking the vegetables is prohibited. Therefore, Hans has several locations where he grows the vegetables himself. This way he also has more influence on the taste and quality of the vegetables.
The vegetables are grown in different ways. Samphire is grown in a large field, but sea bananas are grown in a greenhouse, for example. Because Elenbaas has a lot of experience and is always experimenting, they constantly learn new things which can improve the products. For example, they try Sea Fennel in different substrates, grow it outdoors but also in a greenhouse.
Somethings can't be controlled. The weather is of great influence. In general, sea vegetables can withstand drought. This is partly due to the high salt content. This allows them to retain moisture well. The amount of sunlight and rain is also an important factor. It may sound strange, but sea vegetables need a good balance between salt and fresh water. If the amount of salt becomes too high, the plants will stop growing. All these factors can have a big impact on the final taste. Maintaining this balance is therefore a major challenge for growers.
Have you tried all the sea vegetables?
Over the years Samphire became quite known over the world. The same for Sea Aster which is used more often, but that's not all! There are more vegetables to try. Some other products we can deliver to you are:
- Sea Bananas: A very juicy sea vegetable which has a salty and rather spicy flavour.
- Sea Fennel (Rock Samphire): Also a salty and spicy flavour but with an other texture as sea bananas. They combine very well with fish just like normal fennel.
- Sea Purslane: This sea vegetable has close resembles with regular purslane. Use them as an addition in a salad or fry them and you have vegetable crisps!
- Sea Blite: Also known as Sea Rosemary. It has tender soft leaves with an mineral rich flavour.
- Ice Plant: The Ice Plant is one of our favourites. It has a crunchy texture with a slightly lemony flavour. Really something you should try!
How can we deliver year-round?
Just like every natural product, sea vegetables have a season. To ensure that Elenbaas can supply products all year round, they import from various countries. However, there can be a difference in quality because the circumstances in the other countries are different. Elenbaas mainly imports products from France and Mexico. Sea vegetables are grown in multiple countries but Elenbaar prefers France and Mexico because of their better quality.
The season in the Netherlands and in France runs at the same time, approximately from:
March/April until September/October, depending on the product.
When the Dutch season ends, the products are imported. In this way it is possible to supply sea-vegetables all year round.