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A black colored seaweed native to Japan that grows in small clumps of fronds with the appearance of tiny tree branches. When dried it is processed into short narrow strands that are coarse in texture. Hijiki, which is very high in minerals, is a somewhat bitter and salty tasting. It is best served in soups, and other food dishes that are slow cooked, but it is often sautéed or baked as an ingredient in other food dishes. When preparing it in a dried form, soak the seaweed for at least 5 minutes before cooking. In a fresh form, wash the seaweed to remove excess salt and particles before preparing. In a dried form, it can be kept indefinitely if stored in a sealed or airtight container placed in a dry cool area. Fresh or cooked, it should be stored in a refrigerator. This seaweed may also be referred to as Hiziki.
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