Kombu 101: Where To Buy It And How To Use It

Trying to find kombu but don’t know where to find it?

Don’t worry, that happens to everyone, especially when we account for the fact that different grocery stores or supermarkets have different aisle compositions.

In this article, I’ll show which stores are most likely to have kombu (both online and offline), and I’ll also tell you in which aisle you should be able to find it. Finally, I’ll give you some advice on how to use it.

What is kombu?

Kombu is an edible sea vegetable, more specifically a variety of bull kelp.

It hails from one of my favorite countries in the world (Japan) and it’s traditionally used as one of the main ingredients in broths, but it can also be eaten fresh, dried, or pickled in vinegar.

Kombu is rich in a broad range of trace minerals and amino acids, including potassium, iodine, calcium, vitamins A and C, as well as B-complex vitamins and glutamic acid. It’s a good addition to any diet.

Related: Dragon Fruit 101: Where to Buy It and How to Use It

What stores have kombu available?


Fortunately, you’re able to find kombu in numerous stores, including:

Amazon: This is typically the best place to find anything, no matter how exotic it may seem. Amazon has dried kombu, as well as whole-leaf kombu. However, I understand that some people may not be willing to purchase food online, which is why we’ve looked at other options as well.

Walmart: You can also find dried kombu or whole leaf kombu at Walmart. Use the store locator on the company website to determine what’s available in stores and online.

Whole Foods: Another obvious choice is Whole Foods. When it comes to the health-food market (kombu being considered a healthy food), Whole Foods is the go-to place.

Kroger: This store also carries kombu, namely dried kombu from brands such as Emerald Cove or Eden.

Safeway: Safeway is yet another store where you’re able to find several kelp varieties, namely dried kombu.

Health Food Store: It’s also likely that you’re able to find many forms of kelp, including kombu, in local health food stores.

Asian Markets: Since kelp is widely used in Asian culture, you’re probably able to find kombu and other forms of kelp in local Asian markets.

Related: Okra 101: Where to Buy it and How to Use it

Where to find kombu in a grocery store?

Typically, you’re able to find kombu and other types of kelp in the international aisle, and usually, the shelves with traditional Asian food.

If you can’t find it in the international aisle, you might be able to find it in the natural or gluten-free section of your grocery store. Still, the international aisle is your best bet!

Related: Jicama 101: Where to buy Jicama and How to Use it

Great ways to use kombu

Make beans more digestible

One creative way you can use kombu is to make beans more digestible.

The amino acids present in kombu help breakdown the heavy starches within beans, which should make them move through your digestive system with more ease.

Additionally, it may also confer beans with a slight umami taste, and also reduce the time it takes for beans to cook as they make beans softer as they boil.

Make vegan/vegetarian broth

If you’re like me and can’t eat chicken or fish broth, one way to make a vegetable broth more delicious is by adding kombu, which you can include when making savory Asian soups like miso, noodle soup, and tofu soup.

To make broth with kombu, fill a pot with 4 cups of water and a 4-6″ strip of kombu. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add soy sauce if you want an even more accentuated taste.

kombu broth

Use kombu as a condiment

Another way you can use kombu is as a condiment. To do this you have to roast kombu in a dry skillet over medium heat until it becomes crisp. Then you have to crumble or grind it into a powder.

Once that’s done, you can use it as a salt-substitute and sprinkle it over different foods.

Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than five years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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