Most Canadians have likely (and unknowingly) eaten Irish moss in one of two, yet very different ways. If you’ve ever been to the Caribbean you’ve likely had it in a rum beverage. Or, if you’re a holistic junkie like me, in a raw cashew cheese from one of your favourite raw food restaurants.
What we’ve also likely (and still unknowingly) eaten a lot of is carrageenan, a concentrate derived from Irish moss that’s been getting a lot of heat lately for it’s connection to inflammation in the gut. When we eat Irish moss in it’s whole-food form however it can have an opposite, and healing, effect. Read on to find out how you can reap the nutritional best from this under-used ingredient:
What Is Irish moss?
Irish moss, also known as sea moss, grows on rocks close to the shore in the Atlantic ocean and Caribbean sea. Like other sea vegetables, it is rich in iodine and other trace minerals.
Why I love it
Irish moss, when soaked and simmered (see directions below) and added to recipes, adds a thick, creamy silky texture to homemade nut and seed milks, ice creams and dairy-free soups. Aside from the cooking benefits, it’s also a healing powerhouse. It’s one of nature’s best foods for thyroid support, helps soothe and heal the digestive tract, is jam-packed with potassium and helps us detoxify by drawing out heavy metals.
The potassium chloride present in Irish moss helps dissolve catarrhs which cause congestion (read: snot). It also contains natural antimicrobial and antiviral agents, helping rid the body of infections.
Why you’ll love it
Irish moss thickens homemade nut milks, soups, and smoothies. Aside from the texture, you won’t even notice it’s there — it’s virtually tasteless once it’s prepared into a gel. In addition to it’s health benefits, it’s also a fantastic topical treatment for eczema and psoriasis.
Why you need it
If you suffer from thyroid or digestive problems, you must try Irish moss! It’s also a great alternative to store-bought nut and seed milks that are infused with the processed derivative carrageenan that I strongly encourage you to avoid. If you make a batch of Irish moss just once a month it will be enough to add to shakes and milks as you need.
Where to get it
You will likely find it at any West Indian grocery store or online at many raw food or health food websites.
How to prep Irish moss
1. Soak ¼ cup moss for a few hours in water.
2. Rinse under clean water.
3. Place in pot with enough water to cover and bring to a simmer.
4. Simmer on low for 10 minutes.
5. Transfer moss to blender and add about ¼ of the liquid with the moss.
6. Blend until smooth and store in your fridge for up to 3 weeks.
Meghan Telpner is a Toronto based nutritionista and media personality thanks to her refreshingly humorous, engaging and real approach to healthy living. Her online cooking courses and health programs are improving the lives of people around the world. Meghan’s bestselling book UnDiet, Eat Your Way to Vibrant Health is creating a revolution in how people think about their health. Join Meghan’s community on twitter @MeghanTelpner. For more visit MeghanTelpner.com.