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      News — Dulse and Rugosa

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      Got Umami?

      Got Umami?

      There’s sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami.  Umami is the earthy robust taste sensation that became official in 2000.  Identified in 1909 by Japanese chemist, Kikunae Ikeda, the translation means roughly “delicious taste”.  It’s a meaty, savory, deep taste and when you add umami to your cooking you add a robust depth.

      Umami is the newest taste sensation.


      Our umami taste begins with glutamate, which is an amino acid.  Seaweeds are very high in glutamate as well as fermented sauces like soy, miso and worcestershire.  Aging also brings out umami.   Aged cheeses, cured meats including bacon and prosciutto will bring a pop of flavor to whatever you are cooking.  The cool thing is you don’t need a lot of an umami rich ingredient to add complexity to whatever you are preparing.

      Seaweeds are one of the best ways to get umami into your diet.  Maine produces all kinds of seaweeds from fresh to frozen to dried.  Maine is actually number one in the country for seaweed production and our seaweeds are valued worldwide for their quality and flavor.  It’s our cold, mineral rich waters that make our seaweeds so sought after.

      One cold July day out on Gotts Island with the wood stove going we made a soup with a base of local seaweed.  It was simple, we just put a bunch of seaweed in our stockpot and fired up the wood stove.  After a few hours, we strained the broth and added some root vegetables.  The soup was thick, rich and yummy.  Just what we needed on a cold summer day.

      If you want to try a little Umami flavor in your everyday cooking I recommend Dulse flakes.  Dulse is a slightly purple seaweed full of minerals, vitamins and those elusive trace elements.  The flakes resemble coarsely ground black pepper and you can simply sprinkle on whatever you want.  It will enhance pasta, rice and potato dishes and honestly no one will suspect you have boosted both nutrition and flavor.

      Dulse flakes resemble coarsly ground black pepper and are delicious on just about everything.

      I know this is going to sound a little radical but I love adding seaweeds, especially dulse flakes to anything I am baking but especially chocolate.  I like to make brownies from scratch but last spring after volunteering brownies for a meeting I realized I just didn’t have time.  I bought a mix and livened it up with the addition of a tablespoon of dulse flakes soaked in dark rum.  If it sounds a bit weird think of all the gourmet chocolate bars with sea salt added.  Trust me, it’s divine.  

      Seaweed adds depth to chocolate recipes.

      If you want to learn more about umami and seaweeds here are some great websites

      Seaweed Can Help An Itchy Scalp

      Seaweed Can Help An Itchy Scalp

      My seaweed journey began because I was searching for a natural solution to my chronically itchy scalp.  I'd tried everything- doctors, medicated shampoos and grocery store shampoos.  Nothing really worked and often I was left with bad looking hair.  For over 2 years I have used our Seaweed Shampoo Bars and my scalp and hair have relaxed into happy.

      If you struggle with an itchy scalp, try seaweed.

      There are many factors that can cause an itchy scalp.  This is because we are all individuals.  

      Some causes for itchy scalp are-

      • dandruff
      • allergy or sensitivity to the ingredients in your haircare products
      • stress
      • hormones
      • reactions to hair dyes

      In general, natural products are better.  In our modern world, we can't avoid chemicals but take time to read labels.  Strong chemicals can lead to dryness and this increases scalp irritation.  Make sure you go beyond your shampoo and check out all your haircare products.  

      For me, stress often played a factor and I would be caught in a vicious circle of trying all kinds of products, having bad hair days and then trying a new product or visiting a doctor.  I was willing to try anything and that's how I discovered seaweed.

      Seaweeds have many benefits for our hair including-

      • naturally detoxes and I like to think restocks with essential trace minerals and vitamins
      • natural antiseptic properties
      • contains iodine which heals dry skin and eczema
      •  adds natural moisture which can increase luster and shine
      Seaweeds can help sooth and calm itchy scalps.

        I still sometimes get an itchy scalp.  Usually when I'm super busy or going thru a stressful time.   This is a reminder to slow down, hydrate and take some deep breaths. One of the biggest benefits of using seaweed for me is how much happier I am with my hair.  I've come to accept and love my unruly, curly hair and that is a good thing.

        Of course, Maine seaweeds are the best.  Carly hand harvests our seaweeds from the cool, mineral rich waters surrounding Gotts Island near Acadia National Park. 

        Our Maine Island Home

        Our Maine Island Home

        Dulse & Rugosa is a mother and daughter business with our feet firmly planted on a small Maine island.   In fact, Carly was just about born on remote Gotts Island thirty years ago.  Back in those days- this is before cell phones and internet our only way of communicating was a CB radio with a link to the Camden Marine Operator.   Gotts is one of the super remote islands with no ferry, real cars (by that I mean inspected regularly) and no electricity except from the sun.  So, when it was near Carly's due date, we thought about the tides a lot!  In my experience, it is always low tide out on Gotts when you really need to get off.

        Maine island life has many challenges including the tide.

        We'd already decided on Carly's name- I knew she would be a girl.  She is named after our dear island neighbor, Carl.  When my contractions started we knew it was time to get off.  Wondering about the tide?  Low of course.  This meant we had to go around another island which was an extra 20 minutes.  We left at dawn and the sky was brilliant- one of the rare occasion I've seen the Aurora Borealis. The thought went through my mind to name her Aurora but she has always, even in my tummy been Carly.

        We had a few more adventures on the way to the midwife including our car overheating and needing to call for a tow.  We started at dawn but Carly wasn't born until six that evening.  I guess she wanted to wait until all the chaos had settled.  The next day, we headed back to the island.  Of course, it was low tide again and we had to land on an awkward beach.  A kind neighbor gave us a ride up the hill in his WWll jeep.

        Because Carly spent her early years roaming the fields, forest and shores of the island she has a deep love of place.  Dulse and Rugosa started with this love of place.

        Dulse & Rugosa is firmly rooted in Maine.

        Our mission reflects the experiences and joys of Maine island living.

        At Dulse & Rugosa our mission is to bring you nourishing and effective skincare made with botanicals harvested from our Maine island home.  From our farm, our island shores and the sea we gather hardy Maine plants with benefits to your skin, hair and scalp.  Our botanicals include four varieties of Maine seaweeds, hand harvested from our mineral rich waters.  Dulse & Rugosa, nourishing body and soul.

        Rose Season in Maine

        Rose Season in Maine

        The roses are starting to bloom on the mainland.  They will be a little later out on Gotts Island and this is always such a sweet time of year.

        Rose petal rich, skin loving Dulse & Rugosa products.

        At  Dulse & Rugosa we use some form of rose in just about every product we make, but some products are especially rich in Maine roses.  The roses we use are the Rugosa Rose.  While not native to Maine and perhaps like the beloved lupine considered invasive, the "beach rose" is part of the seashore in Maine. Starting with the scented petals of deep pink and white by fall the rose hips provide much needed Vitamin C for anyone facing a Maine winter.  Rose hips are nutritious and delicious in teas and jams.

        Essential oils and rose petals to help whisk tension away.

        One major benefit of roses is their scent.  It is such a natural, sweet but not cloying scent and no matter the weather evokes a sunny day by the ocean.  Carly has created a rose petal rich roll on perfume oil designed to help calm and relieve tension.  The base is Calendula infused sweet almond oil enriched with lavender and peppermint essential oils and sweetened with rose and chamomile petals.  One of the benefits of being "skincare chefs" is mixing up wholesome goodies for your skin.  Headache oil is aromatherapy for you, not the room. 

        Our Island Face Scrub is also rich in handpicked Maine island roses. Our gentle face scrub is beneficial to all skin types but especially helpful for breakouts. Roses have an anti-bacterial property that can help calm irritated skin.  When you combine the power of rose petals with the magic of Maine seaweeds you have a gentle yet effective combination of natural ingredients to keep your face clear and happy.  Natural ingredients are a more effective and safer way to fight pimples then using weird chemical that have the potential to be harmful.

        Another way we utilize the benefits of rose petals in in our Rose Witch Hazel.  This is an infusion of rose petals into witch hazel and the results are divine with a heavenly scent.  Witch hazel is another wonderful product for acne prone skin.  Try our Rose Petal Witch Hazel to spot treat an annoying pimple, as a face toner after a hot, sticky day or dab on irritated skin.  

        Our Rose Petal Witch Hazel is the base for our Rose Petal Creme which is a great creme for faces that need a bit of moisture but not too much.  It's light, creamy with a dreamy rose scent.  

        Treat yourself and your skin to the gift of rose petals.

         Bees are loving sweet Maine roses.

        As always, we want to thank you for supporting our small business.  Reading our blog, following us on social media and especially purchasing our products keeps our small business in business.  

        World Ocean Day

        World Ocean Day

        World Ocean Day is Wednesday June 8th.  The theme this year is plastic. According to  "The ocean and its wildlife is choking on plastic and we need to not only clean it up but stop this pollution at its source."  Sadly, the source is us.

        Celebrate World Ocean Day by changing your plastic habit.

        The first thing that needs to happen in reducing our plastic consumption is awareness.  Becoming aware of how much plastic you use is sobering.  In this day and age I'm not sure it's possible to completely plastic free but you can change your behavior and be single use plastic free.  Single use is any plastic used only one time- think straws.  According to Adrian Grenier, star of HBO's Entourage, "in the US we throw out about 500 million plastic straws a day." These straws break down into tiny, attractive "food" for many small sea creatures.  It's possible to buy reusable straws made out of bamboo or steel.  And you need to let food servers know that you don't want a straw or stirrer in your drink.  It sounds relatively simple, but it will take some awareness and forethought to be 100% successful.  

        Another easy way to reduce your plastic use is not ever using a plastic shopping bag.  Keep a couple of spare bags in your car or purse.  Of course, it will be inconvenient- you will forget your bags and have to walk back to the car or just load your items in the shopping cart without any bags.

        Simple changes and being aware can help reduce your plastic consumption- bring your own bags when shopping.

        Sometimes when the news is so daunting it seems like there is nothing you can do.  But, every small step helps and spreading the word about our current overuse of plastic is vital.

        Get outside to your nearest ocean, river, lake or stream and enjoy the beauty of water.

        Here are some links for more information