Irish Moss – Benefits & How to Use

Did you know that Irish moss has a lot of health benefits? Irish moss or sea moss is actually not a moss at all but is seaweed. Also known as carrageen, Irish moss is a species of red algae that grows in the Atlantic ocean along the shores of Ireland, Europe, and North America.

It has been used for hundreds of years for medicinal purposes because of its antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Like other sea vegetables, it is rich in iodine and other trace minerals. It contains high amounts of Vitamins A, E, F, and K, calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium. It’s known to soothe and aid gastrointestinal issues and inflammation such as ulcers or gastritis, and also increases your metabolism.

Clear Irish Moss (Sea Moss, Gracilaria) is great to use as a raw vegan substitute for gelatins and other thickeners. You can add it to homemade nut milks, ice creams, soups, sauces, and smoothies. Aside from the texture, Irish moss is tasteless once it’s prepared into a gel. You can make a batch of Irish moss in advance enough to add to your recipes. 

Directions for use:

  1. Rinse and soak well at least three times. The sea smell will go away with soaking. Give the Irish Moss a loving rub to remove salt and other ocean debris such as sand (small colored fibers might be leftover from the nets used to harvesting).
  2. Put Irish Moss in a tall container (it will double in size) and fill it with fresh water. Soak for 24 to 48 hours. Remember to change the water twice a day. While changing the water rub the Irish Moss to loosen more debris.
  3. Rinse one final time and place in blender. Process the Irish Moss until you get a smooth consistency. You might need to add additional water. Take care to scrape down the sides of the blender to ensure that there are no pieces of Irish Moss. 
  4. Keep the gel in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks. Add to recipes for emollient and gelatinous effect. Contrary to logic, Irish Moss gets a very sweet smell when it goes bad. 

Chef Tip:
Wash and soak a packet of Irish Moss 227g at one time. Blend the Irish Moss to a smooth gel. Use silicon ice cube trays to freeze the gel. Store the frozen cubes in the freezer in an airtight container or zip-lock bag. Using this method ensures that you always have Irish Moss ready to make great foods and desserts.