What is sea moss? It seems like an endless and obvious question. Still, not everyone is aware of this wonderful food yet, and may not be sure how to use it. If you want to include some healthy foods in your diet without changing things too much, then this algae is the perfect one for you.
So, what is sea moss?
These are the 8 things you need to know about it
Fact #1: Sea moss is a red seaweed that has been around for centuries
Sea moss is becoming relatively popular lately. It has always been used in certain cultures for culinary and health purposes. This red seaweed is also called Chondrus crispus, or Irish moss, found in the northern areas of the Atlantic Ocean.
Fact #2: The Irish were the first known to use it as medicine
Given its name of Irish moss, it should not come as a surprise that the Irish were some of the first ones to discover its properties. In fact, since the 1800s, there have been records of Irish communities harvesting sea moss on the rocky shores to use as medicine. During times of famine, the Irish used sea moss to survive and stay nourished.
Fact #3: Since you can find them in the Caribbean, Jamaicans are also known to use it
It may seem odd that two populations so different rely on the same food. But this is found when you explore Jamaican tradition. Since sea moss grows in the Caribbean, Jamaicans found it very useful to treat illness. According to legend, it also improve male libido. There is no scientific evidence of the latter, however, and it is now mostly used as a health beverage and homemade remedy.
Fact #4: Carrageenan and sea moss are not the same
You may have read about carrageenan, a natural thickening agent that has been used in many vegetarian and vegan products for years. This product is a derivative of sea moss and has been altered and processed commercially. That is why, if you hear about carrageenan being possibly toxic and dangerous, you should consider switching back to natural Irish moss.
Fact #5: They can also be used to thicken food
While it does require a little more work than buying carrageenan in the grocery store, sea moss is a very good natural thickener. To use it as such, though, you have to give yourself time to prepare it properly.
Start by washing your sea moss algae carefully, removing all signs of dirt. Place it in a bowl covered entirely with water and soak for at least 12 to 24 hours. This process is what gives them the right texture and promotes the release of all the nutrients.
Once the soaking period is over, dry your sea moss on a plate and add it to a blender. Slowly add the soaking liquid back, and start blending until there are no visible chunks. Place this blended mixture into a bowl and set it aside for two hours. They’ll begin to gelatinize, which is exactly what you want to add to your foods.
Use this gel to thicken soups, sauces, stews, ice cream, smoothies, and more!
Fact #6: They contain many vitamins and minerals
One of the reasons that sea moss is so popular is because it contains a wide range of nutrients that no other food has. This algae has about 92 minerals of the 110 that our bodies need. It is also a great source of vitamin A, C, K, and E, and some of the B vitamins
Fact #7: This algae contains fiber, fatty acids, and more!
Sea moss is also high in fatty acids, especially omega 3, which is an essential fatty acid that many of us do not consume enough of. This food also contains fiber, promoting healthy digestion, and it is considered a probiotic, which promotes healthy gut microbial growth.
Eating this food is also an efficient way to prevent oxidative damage and inflammation. It is a healthy way to keep your body functioning properly, preventing illness, bacterial or viral infections, and overall, feeling and looking younger.
Fact #8: You can add them to any dish!
Sea moss has a very neutral, almost non-existent flavor. That is why it can be a versatile ingredient to thicken any dish while also improving the nutrient profile of your meals. Use them in smoothies, juices, cakes, ice cream, pudding, soup, and stews.
What are you waiting for to use sea moss?
Now that you know what sea moss is and how to use it; do not wait any longer to add it to your kitchen and medicine cabinet repertoire! Make sure to prepare them ahead of time and then use them as you want, by keeping them fresh in the refrigerator for a few days.