Irish Moss, also known as Carrageen, is a type of raw, unprocessed seaweed, grown in cold water and has been used for centuries in Ireland, thought it also grows in Asia and the oceans of North America.
Irish Moss has been widely used for years and years in all sorts of food products like commercial desserts and cosmetics due to it's natural emulsifying and gelling properties.
Irish Moss is quickly being recognised as an uber exciting SUPERFOOD due to it's massive nutritional and culinary potential like being the vegan answer to Gelatine without cooking. Yes, this seaweed is collecting raw food admirers all over the planet.
Let's start by crediting this warrior of the seaweed world for it's nutritional and health beneficial super skills, thanks to it's high vitamin and mineral content like Retinol, making it the perfect food to replenish and revitalize the body as well as keeping the skin youthful. (why it's currently being touted as the the new mircale in the anti-aging battle)
When it comes to this multi-talented sea morsel and the kitchen however, is where it gets really exciting!
Although we do have to work through several steps of preperation (and potential trial and error!) in reconstituting whole Irish Moss, in order to access the magic locked away..
It is way worth it friends, and let me tell you why..
Irish Moss In The Kitchen:
Irish Moss's most exciting gift is to create wonderful effects in your recipes. A natural thickening agent that can completely transform the consistency of any recipe it is added to, while carrying no colour and relatively no taste.
Wove this versatile sea veggie because it creates the most incredible silky, fluffy, spongy, raw desserts - particularly mousses, puddings, custards, and pie fillings. Another great thing about irish moss is that it provides a thick, creamy texture without using any nuts. Bonus!
Irish moss can be used any time you want a smooth, thick or creamy effect in your recipe, is a substitute for gelatin, (think tirimisu consistency) and other thickeners and will give a gel like texture that you would only achieve from adding fats, nuts and seeds.
That is why it is used in many a raw gourmet desserts, dips, sauces and smoothies.
So you really can make guilt free raw desserts and dressings!
You can use it in many more ways however, and the following is just to give you an idea:
Add a smooth and thick consistency to smoothies, shakes and juices.
Keep nut Milks from seperating while in the fridge and th make them thicker (one teaspoon will suffice here)
Create a mousse like texture in some dessert like tirimisu
Create a firm texture in other desserts like pie's and cake's.
Reduce the amount of oil, fats and nuts in a dressing, cream
Thicken sauces, soups, cream's, shakes.
Create that commercial dreaminess to Ice Cream
Reduce the amount of nuts used in a nut cheese.
Create a specific texture in dishes such as “mashed ‘notatoes”
Used externally, it softens and soothes the skin. Put it on your wrinkles and any dark circles under your eyes! It also eases sunburn, chapped skin, eczema, psoriasis, and other rashes.
We recommend that when you are feeling adventurous in the kitchen, put Irish Moss first as a food to play with and get familiar with it's nature before potentially spoiling a recipe you worked hard at
Getting Started with Irish Moss
SOAKING IRISH MOSS:
Before you work with Irish Moss, you usually need to make it into a clear smooth paste or gel.
The following directions which have been ever so slightly adapted from Cafe Gratitude, have proven to be very succesful in our experience with Irish Moss.
Take out the measurement or a guestimate of dried Irish Moss required. (if you take more than needed, it can be stored up to 10 days in the fridge.)
Place in a container or bowl of COLD water (using warm or hot water for soaking will lessen the gelatinous properties)
Massage the irish moss with your fingers, which willl help remove the "fishy" odour, particles, shells and any other foreign objects.
Once you've gave it a good massage, drain the water away and place the irish moss back into new water, massaging once again.
Repeat these steps until the water is running clear and your sure the irish moss is clean and odourless as possible.
When all is clear, drain and place the cleaned irish moss in new COLD water for the final time.
Refridgerate for 24 hours to soak for best results.
If in a rush however, cover and leave at room temperature for at least 3 hours.
Irish Moss will expand from it's dry form once soaked.
Then it is ready to make into a paste (follow directions below)
TO MAKE THE PASTE:
1/2 cup (packed) of soaked irish Moss (really pack it in)
1 cup of fresh filtered water (not the soak water)
- Put your moss in the blender along with the 1 cup of water.
- Blend well on high. In a high powered blender like the Vitamix, this might take up to several minutes and the blender will begin to heat the gel up slightly. This is what you want, to allow the particles to completely break down.
You may have to stop it once or twice to let it cool.
(Chunks of moss may fly up into your carafe. Just stop the blender and push them down towards the blade and proceed to blend.) If you rub some of the paste between your fingers it should be smooth. If you feel any lumps / grainy texture continue blending. Under-estimating the lenght of blending required is one of the many reasons that irish moss gel does not work successfully in recipes.
- If done correctly, eventually, you will be rewarded with a beautiful, white, fluffy paste. This my sweet friends, is Irish Moss gel.
- Chill the gel in the fridge for up to 7 days and use as required or use immediately.
Storing Irish Moss
Irish Moss left soaking in it's cold soak water will last approx. 10 days in the fridge.
Irish Moss once transformed to it's gel form can be stored for up to 7 days in the fridge.
Got remaining Irish Moss gel? You can store it in the freezer. Put them in ice cube trays or a muffin tin, once frozen, transfer to freezer zip-lock bags and store them in the freezer, this way you'll always have grab-and-go irish moss gel to use when needed.
Using Irish Moss Gel
The general rule of using Irish moss Gel in recipes is to use 2-3 Tablespoons of Irish moss gel to 1 cup of product like liquid or dough
Quantity depends however, on the recipe you are making, how much it calls for, and the thickness desired or called for.
Or simply add it free-style, like a teaspoon or tablespoon in smoothies or nut Milks, salad dressings, a mayonnasise or any other dish that requires thickening and will benefit from a boost in anti-oxidants and minerals.
Now your ready to rock this nutritional superstar in your recipes, have fun experimenting. Lots of free recipes can be found on google and on blogs, but the below is one of our favourite ways of using Clear Irish Moss by far:
Raw Vegan Mayonnaise
made with Irish Moss
This recipe was published with the permission of Charlie Wilson on the Renegade Health website.
- 1 cup fresh almond milk
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 teaspoon coconut/palm sugar (or other sweetener)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup unrefined sesame oil or your favorite oil
- 3/4 cup Irish Moss gel
Blend the almond milk, mustard, sweetener and salt at high speed, then gently pour the oil into the blender as it keeps turning at slow speed. Then add the Irish moss at high speed to ensure it emulsifies with the rest. You may need to scrape the sides of the blender for this. Blend thoroughly and enjoy on your favorite foods!
The mayonnaise will become thicker as it cools in the fridge. It will keep for 7-10 days.