Red algae is the new vegan bacon

A favorite food of millions, a product that has infiltrated every dish from salad to dessert, a cornerstone in the diet of meat eaters and a poison for vegetarians. Festivals and Internet memes are dedicated to him. It’s about bacon. All over the planet, he has a reputation as a necessary and tasty product, but even with him – oh happiness! – there is a useful vegetable twin.

Scientists at Oregon State University have discovered what they claim is vegan bacon. About 15 years ago, Chris Langdon of the Faculty of Fish and Wildlife began research on red algae. The result of this work was the discovery of a new type of red edible algae, which, when fried or smoked, tastes very similar to bacon. This variety of red algae grows faster than other varieties and can become an important component of plant nutrition.

Found on the coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (predominantly northern coasts, including Iceland, Canada and parts of Ireland, where they have been used as food and medicine for centuries), this new edible algae contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that make it amazingly healthy. Historically, they have been a wild food source and natural remedy for preventing scurvy and thyroid disorders. Like most algae, red edible algae can be roasted or smoked, and are also good dried. What’s more, after drying, they contain 16% protein, which definitely adds to their advantage in the search for vegan and vegetarian meat substitutes.

Initially, red algae was supposed to be a food source for sea snails (such was the purpose of the study), but after the business potential of the project was discovered, other specialists began to join Langdon’s study.

“Red algae is a superfood with twice the nutritional value of kale,” says Chuck Toombs, a spokesman for the University of Oregon College of Business and one of those who joined Langdon as the project progressed. “And thanks to our university’s discovery of self-cultivating algae, we have a chance to jump-start Oregon’s new industry.”

Red edible algae can indeed affect the minds of the majority: they are healthy, simple and cheap to produce, their benefits are scientifically proven; and there is hope that one day red algae will become a curtain that fences off humanity from the mass slaughter of animals.

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