Sugar Kelp (saccharina latissima) is easy to spot on the beach when it gets washed up. Usually an inhabitant of deeper water below the low tide mark, it is often easier to find fresh examples that have been washed up. Long blades with a wavy edge and a crepe-paper ‘crinkliness’ makes it easy to identify. Tough as old boots it can be used as a flavour enhancer (not eaten but added to sauces and soups then removed) as it is packed with glutamates. It can, like other seaweeds be left to dry and you will see a thin coating of what looks like salt forming on it. However this is not salt. Lick it and see. Its sweet. Its mannitol.
One of the most delicious ways of eating Sugar Kelp is to deep fry it and make it into crisps. Heat the oil and test it with a cube of bread. It should go golden and crispy in about a minute. Then place your seaweed pieces in and let cook briefly – without burning them (they taste horrible when burnt). It should take no longer than 25 seconds to a minute depending on how hot your oil is. Leave to drain on a paper towel. The salty-sweet, iodine-rich taste is unique, wholesome and very tasty.