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Kombu is the Japanese term for dried edible kelp that's commonly used as an ingredient across East Asia. In Japanese cuisine, it's essential to make dashi, the soup stock that provides a savory, salty yet clean flavor foundation for miso soup and other dishes. Packaged in a resealable, recyclable pouch, these whole dried sheets are harvested from pristine Maine waters and have an especially crisp brininess and delicate, sweet clarity from the kelp's natural sugars; simply cut up a few sheets and steep to make a light, fragrant broth (for a more concentrated stock, try Kombu Flakes). Don't balk at the white powder coating the kombu sheets—it's a naturally occurring layer of nutrient-dense salts. It's common to gently wipe some of the salt off, but leaving a little residue will boost the flavor of your soup stock since the powder contains glutamic acid, the compound responsible for umami.
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