A black colored seaweed native to Japan and Atlantic waters growing in small clumps of fronds that are coarse and stringy in appearance. When dried it is processed into half inch wide strands that are cut into 6 inch lengths, which are stiff in texture. As a food, it provides a mild and somewhat salty flavor, while the varieties that are darker brown provide stronger flavored seaweed. When cooked, Wakame turns green and is often used to make miso soup. The chewiness and mild flavor make it very popular as an ingredient in salads, soups, or vegetable side dishes. When preparing it in a dried form, soak the seaweed for at least 5 minutes before cooking. In a fresh form, wash the seaweed to remove excess salt and particles before preparing. In a dried form, it can be kept indefinitely if stored in a sealed or airtight container placed in a dry cool area. Fresh or cooked, it should be stored in a refrigerator.
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