Researchers at Oregon State University have received a patent for a new strain of seaweed they developed, and there's only one thing you need to know about it: “When you fry it, which I have done, it tastes like bacon, not seaweed," chief researcher Chris Langdon says in an OSU dispatch. "And it’s a pretty strong bacon flavor.” Some less important details: It's a strain of a red algae called dulse, which grows in the Pacific and the Atlantic, and it's packed with vitamins and minerals, reports Time. Dulse is usually sold in dried form as a cooking ingredient or nutritional supplement, mostly in Asia and Europe. But if the researchers are right, it could eventually take off in the US because, bacon.
Langdon's team didn't set out to create a new food, at least for humans. They were trying to figure out a way to grow dulse faster as food for sea snails called abelone, popular in Asia. When a colleague from the university's College of Business spotted it growing in Langdon's office, however, he recognized the potential and began working with the school's Food Innovation Center to develop meals. “Dulse is a super-food, with twice the nutritional value of kale,” says that colleague, Chuck Toombs. “And OSU had developed this variety that can be farmed, with the potential for a new industry for Oregon.” Landgon is growing about 25 pounds a week, though Business Insider notes that no analysis has been done on whether ramping up to commercial scale is viable. (Here's why bacon smells so good.)