Kombu: kelp

Kombu is a kind of marine algae. Marine algae have many many species, only a few of which are eaten. Of those, Kombu is the most popular in Japan. Also it is used for medical cure. Kombu is about 13 kinds for the price and the taste very various. The kombu is eating only in Asia.

The kombu increases by sporogenesis. The sporogenesis is performed Kombu, Fungi, alga and mushroom. The procedure of the reproduction, at first a spore grows. The spore has two hair and can move freely. The spore sticks to underwater rocks. The spore which stuck grows up and forms a gametophyte. There is male and female to agametophyte. The female forms an egg, and the male forms sperm. These are fertilized and grow up when formed Kombu. The kombu grows up at the place where strongly wave and deep sea. It grows up from the summer to the autumn.

The kombu affects ecosystem. For example, purify the water of the sea, become the hideout of the fish, become the spawning ground of the fish. However, in late years the number of kombu decreases. There are some the reasons. The first is urbanization. In late years the construction of the shore performed frequently by urbanization. The shore disappears by concrete every year. Therefore the homes of the kombu decrease. The second reason is global warming. When water temperature too high, the kombu cannot grow up. Therefore the global warming is crisis for the kombu. In addition, big influence is reflected on ecosystem when kombu decreases. The kombu is important for both a person and ecosystem in this way.

Mainly Kombu is used for broth. Kombu broth is very very nice taste and very transparent, so it is used for many Japanese food. Broth used for Iriko, Katuobushi, besides Kombu in Japan . But it is liked mainly in western Japan and is suitable for Oden, Udon. So used for many Japanese food. Also used for Tradition food in Japan. For example , Nimame , Aemono , Sunomono , Tsukudani.

Kombu’s volume of production is 120,000t in Japan. Total 65% is natural Kombu. Total 35% is cultured Kombu. Nature Kombu is very nice taste but very price is high so it is used mainly by restaurant. On the other hand, cultured Kombu’s taste is inferior to natural.

Nature Kombu is mainly harvested in Hokkaido. The Kombu is mainly harvested in Hokkaido. The Kombu of Hokkaido has good quality. High-quality Kombu, most grow wild in Hokkaido. Culture Kombu is not affected by nature and can stable harvest it.

The culture technology of the kombu began in the Edo era. The culture method of the kombu, At first I bring up kombu seed artificially. It return to the sea and bring up.

Unlike the other culture technology, not give the bait. Therefore made near to nature Kombu. However, it takes around 1 year to completion. Then, harvest it in summer and dry it. It is completed for much time and trouble.

In Kochi, it can be found at Katurahama.