How To Use Sea Moss
I’ve seen many questions floating around from where to buy sea moss to how to use it. So I wanted to share some answers in this blog post. I’d also love to hear from you in the comments if you have tried it.
But you may wonder now, what is sea moss used for and what are the benefits of it? I was curious as well and started investigating. First, it does seem pretty hard to get hold of at the moment which can be explained with it being freshly harvested from the ocean in most cases. The small shops don’t generally have a lot of stock and with the current high demand are selling out faster. But there are several companies who sell sea moss and of course, it is also available via Amazon (mostly as capsules and as a supplement though). If you want the fresh wild-harvested kind you will have to find of the specialist resellers online.
What is Sea Moss?
It is also referred to as Irish Sea Moss is a species of red algae which exists on the Atlantic coast of Europe and North America. It is not a moss but actually seaweed. In its fresh condition, it is soft and cartilaginous, varying in colour from a greenish-yellow, through red, to a dark purple or purplish-brown.
It has been used traditionally as a thickener and has recently become a bit of a buzz word in health-conscious and vegan groups. It has even made it into 2020 Pinterest Trend Report with a rise of 380% from 2018 to 2019. According to Google Trends, the interest just grew from there.
How Is It Being Used?
Traditionally, it has been harvested to produce carrageenan which is being used as a thickening agent in various products around the world. In Ireland and parts of Scotland, it is being made into kind of jelly.
More recently it became popular as a thickener for smoothies. When prepared properly it should nearly have no taste and it is now hailed as a vegan version of gelatin. It will take on the taste of whatever it is mixed with which is why it became so popular recently in beverages or baking.
Is Sea Moss Healthy?
There has been only limited research into the health benefits at this stage. The main benefit that nutritionists point out is improved gut health. It is hailed as the new superfood as it is rich in minerals such as magnesium and iron.
Carrageenan, the processed version of sea moss, was in the centre of a controversy as some studies suggested that it caused digestive issues. If you are concerned about the health implications I recommend to read this article and discuss the topic with a health professional.
Please be aware that excessive amounts of Irish moss may cause loose stools as it is a mild laxative. It is best to avoid intake if diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Seek the advice of a health care practitioner if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking prescription medications, especially blood-thinning drugs.
I’ve been reading about different kinds of sea moss which are making waves in health-conscious communities at the moment. I’ve seen references to Irish sea moss, Jamaican sea moss, purple and gold sea moss and that is easy to be explained as there are many different varieties. However, some are just marketing ploys.
Irish sea moss is also referred to as Chrondus Crispus which only grows in colder waters such as as the Atlantic coast of the US and Europe. The Jamaican variety which is a gracilaria grows in warmer waters only. So Irish sea moss and Jamaican variety clearly refer to the place where they are harvested. However confusingly sometimes the Jamaican variety is being referred to as Irish sea moss. It is best to look for Chrondus Crispus if you are after real Irish sea moss.
Purple and gold sea moss are clearly distinct if you look at the colours.
Sometimes “purple sea moss” is being marketed as true Chrondus Crispus. Though it is a sea moss it is not the same as the scientifically defined Chrondus Crispus that grows in cold water climates along the Atlantic coast of the US and Europe.
As Chondrus Crispus grows off the shores of Ireland, Great Britain, the Atlantic coastlines of the U.S. and Canada, most European shores as well as Iceland make sure to check where the shop gets its sea moss from.
It has to be noted that no matter where the sea moss is from it is being used extensively in these locations.
The Chondrus Crispus variety is higher in nutrients but has a slightly stronger flavour that gracilaria which has nearly no taste and just a very subtle seaweed odour which you won’t notice once you have added it to your smoothie.
So you managed to purchase your unsoaked dry sea moss and now you wonder what to do with it? The best is to soak and rinse it throughouly and prepare a gel which can then be added to smoothies etc.
What you need:
- 1 cup dried whole Irish sea moss
- about 2 cups of pure water for blending
- Rinse the sea moss thoroughly in pure water. Soak it for about 20 min and inspect it for sand and other sea debris. If needed rinse again.
- Place the moss into a jar and fill it with pure water.
- Leave to soak overnight or a minimum of 8 hours. The texture will change and it will be softer and a bit slippery. The colour will change too and it will be more translucent. It will also expand so ensure your jar is big enough.
- Strain off the water. If needed rinse again.
- Add the moss with about 2 cups of pure water to a high-speed blender. The water should just cover the sea moss and 2 cups should be sufficient but it also depends on the sea moss consistency so you may find that you need a bit more water at this stage.
- Blend the mixture until smooth. This may take a few minutes depending on the strength of your blender. The mixture will be easy to pour into a storage jar but will solidify in the fridge. This should take about 1 hour.
Store your gel in the fridge for up to two weeks so you have to ready to be added to smoothies or other recipes which may need a thickening agent such as non-dairy ice cream, sauces or puddings. You could also add it to soups such as my leek and potato soup.