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May 14, 2021

Today we’ll hear about the life and work of Isabella Aiona Abbott who became a leading expert on Pacific marine algae and the was the first Native Hawaiian woman to receive a PhD in science. Her scientific contributions included the discovery of over 200 algae species, and her life’s passion spilled over into the kitchen. Having learned about edible Hawaiian seaweeds from her mother, Isabella enjoyed creating recipes using kelp and algae.

Seaweed Cake 

A recipe originally designed to use Nereocystis kelp that is common in central California and northward. In Hawaiʻi, either Eucheuma species from Kāneʻohe Bay or ogo may be used.  

Cream well 1 ½ cups salad oil, 2 cups sugar; add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  

Add 2 cups grated carrots, 2 cups grated Eucheuma or 2 cups coursely chopped ogo, 1 cup crushed, drained pineapple, or 1 cup fresh grated coconut.  

Sift together 2 ½ cups sifted flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix all together.  

Add 1 cup walnuts if desired.  

Bake in oblong pan or loaf pan at 350 degrees 45-50 minutes.  

Serve plain or with buttercream frosting. A moist cake which keeps very well. 

Video: Dr. Abbott discussing ethnobotany of Limu

La'au Hawai'i: Traditional Hawaiian Uses of Plants by Isabella Aiona Abbott

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