this is the new superfood discovered by Ángel León

Aponiente’s restlessness, with the chef Angel Leon at the forefront, by continuing to observe and research new ingredients and products from the great pantry of the sea, has led him to discover the “marine cereal”.

The “marine cereal” is the seed of an aquatic plant called Eelgrass. It is not a seaweed, but a seagrass (In Europe there are only 4 different types) that belongs to a group of plants considered by scientists and biologists as superior (with seeds, flowers, rhizomes, etc.) that curiously are born under the sea and feed on water. In addition, they perform key biological and ecological functions being “Architects” of ecosystems.

“For more than a decade, the entire Aponiente team has continued to work with the responsibility of publicizing and taking advantage of the great pantry that is the sea, integrating new products and foods into the human diet that are still hidden as great treasures under the sea. . Our dream is that the sea is part of the diet of all people and we hope to achieve it little by little”, Says chef Ángel León.

The objective is to continue taking advantage of all those ingredients that make marine food a sustainable resource, innovating and adding value to the gastronomy sector and society.

He Aponiente R&D team He has been researching seagrass and its seeds for more than 3 years with the University of Cádiz and other scientific entities, “the marine cereal”, managing to cultivate it for the first time in history in a controlled environment, a project thanks to which they have been able to determine its viability for human consumption. For now, a total of 3,000m2, in the Bahía de Cádiz Natural Park. A pioneering project in the world, which could also change the global map of the planet, making it possible to grow crops in areas that only have access to salt water.

It has been found that the cultivation of “Marine cereal” It is one of the most sustainable on the planet and a generator of ecological, landscape and social wealth; as well as key in the fight against climate change. In addition, less technical and economic resources are needed for its plantation compared to other types of cereals.

In addition, it has been found that the “Marine cereal” or “marine rice” As some call it, not only can it be used for human consumption, but it also has unique nutritional properties, becoming a new superfood.

The research process is a long journey that requires fellow travelers who believe in the project and share common values. It is the case of Beers 1906, who has joined forces with Ángel León to continue accompanying him in his nonconformist spirit that revolutionizes the world of gastronomy on a daily basis.

Marine cereal: nutritional properties of a superfood

Since Aponiente, numerous analyzes and comparative studies of the “Marine cereal” compared to common rice and other types of cereals grown on land such as barley, wheat, oats or corn.

The results have determined that a grain much denser than other cereals and nutritious, very similar to legumes. At the gastronomic level, it opens the door to another texture and flavor, dense and firm, like al dente pasta, aromatic, vegetable and iodized. Its characteristics for culinary use range from cooking in the same line as rice or pasta, through processing it as flour, making bread or dry pasta.

Contains more protein than high quality (13%), carbohydrates (82% of which more than 50% is starch), less than 2% in fats (vegetables), as well as vitamins A and E that no other type of cereal has or high concentrations of vitamins of group B. Finally, essential fatty acids, omegas 3 and 6, amino acids that do not exist in common cereals, minerals and even a significant proportion of glucose, which makes it a superfood with exceptional qualities for a very healthy diet.

Key in the fight against climate change, revitalizing the environment

Scientific studies have certified that the seagrass, the plant from which “the marine cereal” comes, generates habitats of high biological, ecological, landscape and social value. The benefits to the environment are innumerable, as coastal wetlands and seagrasses are the most effective carbon sinks on Earth.

For the detailed study of “Marine cereal” areas that had been abandoned decades ago have been recovered, contributing to the environmental and social revitalization of the surroundings.

Have been restored old salt flats and fish farms to create marine cereal plantations that have made it possible to maintain primary traditional activity and recover ecosystems, generating great marine biodiversity. Keep in mind that the seagrass, is in danger of extinction and that through its cultivation an autochthonous species of great value to the environment is being recovered.

And on the other hand, this landscape and natural wealth is undoubtedly a claim for ecotourism; becoming an important economic and social dynamizer, helping the community and preserving nature and marine ecosystems for future generations, thus adding to the sea from the kitchen.

The productivity of cultivating the future and its protection

The study carried out shows that the cultivation of “marine cereal” has lower needs and technical and economic requirements for its cultivation than other common cereals, and is also very productive. In relation to the latter, up to 5 spikes per plant are obtained, thus exceeding 30 times the potential of an extension of tropical forest. The estimate of yield in the wild is 5 to 7 tons per hectare, similar to the production of other types of cereals.

On the other hand, the costs of its cultivation are low due to the fact that the “marine cereal” is a perennial plant, so it is not necessary to reseed the crops annually. In addition, it does not require pesticides because there are no pests, it does not suffer from known diseases or require fertilizers, in addition, sea water circulates constantly and the surplus can be used and used for other uses that generate return.

The most sustainable crop in the world

Sustainability has been and is an essential part of Aponiente’s DNA since its inception. The applied studies By the Aponiente research team, they endorse that the cultivation of seagrass, and therefore of marine cereal, is the most sustainable known to date, as well as generating great marine biodiversity.

It has been shown that fertilizers or chemicals are not required in crops since there are no known pests or diseases that affect it, it does not need additional nutrients if seawater is recirculated and it is a generator of great biodiversity since it produces underwater oxygen, which generates great marine life around you. In addition, it fixes the substrate and prevents the erosion of the seabed, reduces the impact of the waves and retains sediments, is a refuge and marine reproduction area for some species (fish of commercial interest, seahorses, crustaceans such as shrimp, etc.) and it also reduces the acidification (decrease in Ph) of the ocean.

Healthy diet only with seafood

For more than 10 years, the Chef del Mar de Aponiente Gastronomic Research Laboratory, headed by Ángel León and with Juan Martín as Aponiente Biologist, has been engaged in a constant exercise of observation and subsequent scientific investigation of seafood, in order to discover and publicize all those still hidden and unknown products that make marine food a common and sustainable resource in the diets of human beings.

As a result of this discovery and to continue knowing the infinite possibilities of everything that the sea offers, Aponiente will create the first and only specialized R&D center in marine vegetable crops in the world. The objective, not only to continue researching the “marine cereal”, but to work to continue advancing in the project that may be key so that one day land crops can be transferred to the sea and achieve the dream of a “marine garden”.

An ambitious dream, but Chef Ángel León has never stopped working for those dreams that may seem impossible, and that have led him to discover and use new ingredients from the great pantry of the sea. Today he adds to that list of ingredients a new superfood, the “marine cereal”, taking another step to create a balanced and healthy diet only with seafood.