A variety of sea vegetables, which are consumed in a number of different ways. They can be used as seasonings, vegetables, ingredients in soups and salads, in making tea, as thickeners, and as food stabilizers. Seaweed can be eaten fresh, baked, sautéed, added to stir-fries, or steamed. It is an important source of food in the Asian cultures and an important source of the nutrient iodine. Some of the varieties available include arame, dulse, hijiki, kelp, kombu, laver, limu, and wakame. Fresh seaweed is not readily available in markets away from a tropical source, however dried seaweed is readily available in many food stores.