Let’s talk about nori.
First, what is it?
Nori is quite simply an edible seaweed. In English, we know of this as laver. In Japan, nori is typically presented in the form of dried sheets and is most often sold without added flavors or salts, although it can be found in a variety of forms.
Nori is eaten primarily with rice dishes or wrapped around sushi or slices of tamagoyaki (a sweet Japanese omelette of sorts). Nori is sold in a paste or moist form which is usually referred to as tsukudani.
When sold in larger pressed sheets, and even in the smaller snack-sized leaflets, silica sachets are included with the nori to keep it crisp and fresh. These are great for short term storage. However, what if a person wants to keep their nori on hand for a dinner a few weeks onwards?
How to Store Nori
Refrigerated (Best All Round, Best Flavor)
First and foremost, storing nori in the fridge is your best bet. Make sure to press out the air before sealing your bag shut, and place that bag inside another. A silica sachet should be placed in with the nori to absorb excess moisture or condensation. This will keep the nori fresh and accessible for longer, and it will help retain the flavor.
In the Freezer (Long Term, Least Flavorful)
For long term storage, nori can be stored in a freezer. As with refrigeration, seal the nori in a Ziploc bag or keep it within the original unopened packaging, and put that inside of a freezer bag. Nori can be stored in a freezer for as long as half a year. When freezing, it is not necessary to use a silica sachet unless they’re changed every month or two.
In both cases, it’s important to remember to let the nori warm back to room temperature before opening the bags as this will greatly reduce condensation and will allow it to be stored again afterwards.
Room Temperature (Short Term, Easy Access, Good Flavor):
At room temperature, once again doubling up the storage bags, store the nori in a cool, dry, dark place. This is the easiest way to store nori as there is no waiting for it to warm up, but it also presents the shortest shelf-life. Generally avoid storage containers such as tin, plastic, or aluminium boxes as nori will easily be exposed to the air and become stale quickly.
One Final Trick:
If the nori is a little bit damp, then just give it a little bit of a roast over an open flame or dry it on low heat in a frying pan for about a minute. Placing fresh silica sachets into the bag with the nori will help re-crisp it, but it takes time and is less ideal. Lastly, using a microwave is okay in a pinch, but it is by far the least effective method.
A few last things to keep in mind:
- Use aluminium lined bags as they are ideal, but Ziploc bags will suffice.
- Always double bag in resealable bags.
- Always press as much air out of the bags as possible before sealing.
- Nori can generally be kept for one or two months, or up to six in the freezer.
- When bringing nori to room temperature, be patient – it takes a long time.
- Silica sachets only absorb moisture for one or two months.
- Keep in a cool, dry, dark place.
- Be careful of condensation.
- Re-crisp nori over open flame or in a frying pan for best results.
Donovan, who goes by the pen name D.A.Kelorii (deliberately without spaces), was first introduced to Japanese culture when they were very little with shows like Astro Boy and Space Battleship Yamato. At just ten years old, their first word learned in Japanese wasitadakimasu, roughly: let’s eat! Over time, their study of Japan ventured into stories, literature, history, and cultural studies. Eventually, Donovan arrived in Japan on a Working Holiday Visa where they lived in Saitama for a year and worked at the Butler’s Café in Shibuya. A decade later, they returned to live in Sapporo while working on the JET Programme and completing their MA in Creative Writing. Their goal is to attain permanent residence, just a couple more years away, and to open a café to do what they love best – being a barista. Donovan’s other hobbies include photography ( @escapistcat on Instagram ), PC gaming, writing fiction, a catlike exploration of the world, trying new foods, and most importantly: ramen.