Who knew seaweed can save our beaches, provide tasty salads, necessary in ice cream and fertilize our gardens?

Who knew that seaweed was such a good friend to beach goers, foodies and gardeners alike?

Sure, too much seaweed on the beach can sometimes smell and be a home for those tiny beach flies and fleas that snack on your ankles.

Yet seaweed helps beaches capture sand washed up by waves or blown by the wind as on our beach this spring and summer, helping our beach become one of the two beaches in Maine accumulating sand the most and not eroding like so many others.

You might have heard that Japanese and many other cuisines have traditionally used seaweed in many dishes. Our Thai restaurant features a seaweed salad now and even Trader Joe’s has a seaweed snack.

Companies here in Maine have sprung up supplying seaweed to restaurants and maybe we will soon see seaweed salad at our local supermarket.

Of course seaweed has been used in ice cream and cheeses for years as a stabilizer and green seaweed extracts can be found in breads and crackers, macaroni and cheese and some frozen meals.

Gardeners have used seaweed as a mulch and fertilizer; our state frowns on those who take seaweed off our beach, but gardeners have been doing it for so many years that you wonder why when the beach has too much seaweed on it, the town doesn’t cart it off and let gardeners use it.

Seaweed can sometimes be a nuisance on our beaches, but some seaweed can help a beach accumulate sand and grow, provide yummy salads and snacks, and help feed our gardens.

Who knew?