Promoting guraman, an iron-rich sea vegetable

Fresh or dried, guraman doesn’t look anywhere the word enticing or appealing. They look like slimy worms when fresh and grey wires when dried. But as looks can be deceiving, the same goes for this vegetable from the sea. Once guraman is processed, it becomes one of the most valued fishery resources, producing appetizing dishes and food products like lomi, chips, or yema.

dried guraman

Guraman (Gracilaria firma) is a type of seaweed that is abundant in in Baguey, Cagayan province. There are other seaweed species in the region among them include: ar-arosip (Caulerpa sp), pukpuklo (Codium sp), aragan (Sargassum sp), kul-kulot (Padina spp), gal-galis (Halimenia sp), lumut (Enteromorpha spp), kanot-kanot (Eucheuma), and gamet (Porphyra) but majority of the seaweed production consists of guraman.

Report from the National Nutrition Council (NNC) has ranked the Cagayan Valley Region with the highest case of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) based from the latest survey conducted by Food and Nutrition Research Institute. And so, for the past two years, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Region 2 has taken the lead in promoting guraman and other types of seaweeds in Cagayan to increase its consumption and to address iron-deficiency anemia in the region.

According to NNC, seaweeds have 20 times more vitamins, minerals and amino acids than vegetables, and 25 times more iron than beef. It helps cure goiter, strengthen the immune system, and expel phlegm. More important, most seaweeds are cheaper compared to land vegetables.

Given the abundance of guraman, Evelyn Ame of BFAR 2 felt discomfited knowing that most of these seaweeds are not consumed and fully optimized to their potentials.

With this, BFAR 2 is promoting various guraman-based dishes and other food preparations that may entice the public to consume this iron-rich vegetable from the sea. Among these food products include: puree, yema, lech flan, chips, and pickles. They were also featured in the exhibit booth of BFAR 2 during the 9th Agriculture and Fisheries Technology Forum and Product Exhibition held on 8-11 August 2013 at SM Megatrade Hall 2, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.

Ms. Proserfina R. Reyno of BFAR 2, during an interview, mentioned the many uses of guraman puree and how this simple ingredient can be turned into various dishes. She said that guraman can also be added to flour to make noodles, which can be made in to various noodles preparations including canton, guisadom, miki, and lomi. The preparations do not require special equipment and can be done in households or as a livelihood venture.

“Guraman is inexpensive and does not spoil easily so you can store them for a long period of time when dried,” Reyno said. ###

For more information, please contact Proserfina R. Reyno of DA-BFAR 2, Tuguegarao City at tel. (078) 304-5331or email: prosereyno@gmail.com

Source: Rita T. dela Cruz, Bar Chronicle August 2013 Issue (Vol. 14 No. 8)

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