Irish moss is a kind of seaweed that grows on the Atlantic coast along Europe and America as well as in some parts of the Pacific.
It can be light yellow-green to reddish-brown in colour and its jelly-like consistency when mixed with water and/or boiled has been used in the the foods and cosmetics industry for decades:
In puddings, yogurt recipes, cakes and tartes, mousse and savoury or sweet creams, Irish moss is used as a smooth binder or jelly instead of (or in addition to) agar-agar, gelatine, pectin, lecithin, starch or tapioca. It can also replace oils to an extent in terms of holding a smooth and creamy slice recipe or cake filling together while reducing the amount of fat used.
In skin creams, and hair products, it is used as a softening, hydrating, nourishing and protecting agent: it turns your dry skin and hair silky smooth, strengthens hair, skin and nails and helps with skin issues such rashes or eczemas and soothes sunburn.
Medically: you might have also seen it in drugstores as an ingredient in cough syrups, but Irish moss has also been used to help with arteriosclerosis, cholesterol build up, bladder issues and thyroid function.
What are the benefits of Irish moss
Irish Moss should actually be called a superfood – the only thing it is does not have is flavour!
It is rich in vitamin A, several B vitamins , D, C and D, and increases the metabolic rate.
It also contains plenty of minerals, such as calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.
There’s more: Irish moss contains sulphur compounds, pectin, and amino acids like taurine which are usually missing in a vegan diet.
How to store Irish moss
Dry: Irish moss is usually sold in its dried state and can be stored in a dry cool place for up to one year.
Soaked: Once soaked, it needs to be refrigerated and will keep fresh for up to 3 weeks if you rinse it every other day.
Blended: you can blend the soaked moss with some water into a ready-to-use paste and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Like this, it will also keep for up to 3 weeks.
How to use Irish moss
First of all, rinse your batch of Irish moss several times.
Place it in a tall container and fill the entire container with water.
Let it soak in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight (If you soak it in lukewarm water, it will take only a few hours until it is ready to use).
Once it has almost doubled in size and weight and has turned cream-white, it is ready to be used.
Drain the soaking water and rinse again.
Irish moss is farmed on nets and remainders might be entangled. You also want to be sure to have rinsed off all the salt, sand and any other impurities.
Here is a video on how to exactly handle Irish Moss.
Most recipes will ask you to blend the soaked Irish moss with some water before adding other ingredients to ensure all chunks have been broken down completely.
Where to buy Irish moss
Irish Moss can be purchased in organic store or online.