Irish moss drink was introduced to Jamaica by Irish migrants. The Irish used to consume Irish moss during the 19th century famine in the 19th century in Ireland. The so-called Irish Potato Famine in 1846-1848 forced the Irish to search for alternative food to ride them over during this period.
It became a staple in their diet that when some migrated to Jamaica as workers in sugarcane plantations. The Jamaican people had attributed increased libido to the drink, thinking it works as an aphrodisiac. It is usually made with Irish moss seaweed, milk and cinnamon.
Irish moss, Chondrus crispus, (also known as sea moss) is a red algae found in the Atlantic coast of Europe and North America. It is high in carrageenan and is also very rich in iodine and sulfur.
It is used as a thickening and stabilizing agent for ice cream and other processed foods. This is a good alternative for gelatin to use in vegetarian and vegan dishes and drinks. Irish moss can also be used in making lotions and moisturizers, its medicinal properties far-reaching.
Uses and Health Benefits
Use in Food and Food Processing
Irish moss is also used as a clarifying agent for homebrewed beer. The proteins and other solids in the beer get attached to the Irish moss resulting in a clearer liquid.
The good gelling and emulsifying properties of Irish moss makes it a good additive to ice creams, cheese, non-dairy milk and meat loaves.
Sea moss is a powerhouse of minerals, packing in 92 of the 102 minerals in the human body, some of them we probably have not heard of.
It is known to soothe the digestive system, giving relief against dyspepsia, and to strengthen the joints and connective tissues due to its high collagen content.
It also strengthens the immune system with its myriad of minerals and increases energy and nutrition, especially those who have just recovered from an illness.
Sea moss is also rich in potassium chloride known to be a good salt alternative. As opposed to the more popular sodium chloride, potassium chloride actually helps the kidney by reducing the risks of kidney stone formation, helping bone mineral density, controlling hypertension and reducing risk of stroke.
Irish moss is the source of the industrial carrageenan used as thickeners and stabilisers in the production of toothpastes, ice cream or as a clarifying agent for vegan beers and wines. Isinglass, another clarifying agent used in beers and wines, comes from the swimbladder of fish.
Irish moss makes a good organic fertilizer and fodder for livestock.
It is marketed on online stores both in the dried and powdered form. For the recipes here, dried Irish moss is used.
Jamaican Irish Moss Drink
Jamaican Irish Moss Drink is made with dried sea moss, isinglass, flaxseeds, cinnamon, vanilla, nuutmeg and condensed milk. Cook together the soaked sea moss if using dried sea moss, isinglass and flaxseed for about 30-45 minutes until the sea moss and isinglass have softened well. When using fresh sea moss, wash it several times to remove the sand.
This gelatin-like mixture can keep in the fridge for weeks. Store it in an air-tight glass container with limited contact.
Blend a cup of the sea moss-isinglass-flaxseed gelatin, condensed milk, vanilla, ground nutmeg, and ground cinnamon
Sea Moss Berry Smoothie
Blend strawberries, blackberries, lemon juice, sea moss gelatin, ginger, ice banana, and honey. Together, these make this smoothie one that is high in potassium, antioxidants from the berries and lemon juice and a bit of romance from this delicious smoothie.
Vegan Sea Moss Milkshake
Make a vegan sea moss milkshake by eliminating the isinglass. Isinglass in dried swimbladder of some fishes. Instead of using condensed milk, this recipe uses brazil nuts. Brazil nuts are high in minerals such as selenium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and zinc.
It also supports the thyroid function with its high selenium concentration. Selenium is also good in promoting overall immune system health and prevents a number of diseases related to the heart, fertility and cancer.
Coupled with the nutrient-packed Irish moss, this is a power drink that will especially help in times of epidemic and pandemic situations.
Banana-Berry Irish Moss Smoothie
Thicken your smoothies with sea moss carrageenan. Made with pre-prepared sea moss, blend in banana, strawberries, blueberries and almond milk to get this purple smoothie.
Blueberries, when added to smoothies made with Irish moss, doubles the nutrient makeup of the smoothie. It is high in fiber, Vitamins C and K and the mineral manganese. It is also high in antioxidants, helps lower LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
Irish Moss-Flaxseed Smoothie
Indulge in this nutrient-packed smoothie made from Irish moss, bananas, peanuts, and flaxseed and spiced with allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Use almond milk as base if you want a vegetarian version or you can use milk for a non-vegan, creamier drink.
Caribbean Irish Moss Drink
Aside from the standard Irish moss, isinglass, and flaxseed, gum Arabic or acacia gum can be added to Irish Moss drink. Add some flavor by adding cashew nuts, rolled oats, strawberry syrup or any fruity syrup or jam.
Sea Moss and Pregnancy
Sea moss aids in fertility by its high having high amounts of B vitamins, magnesium and potassium. It is high in folate acid which is an essential for preventing spina bifida, a neural tube defect wherein the spinal cord doesn’t develop properly.
Sewa moss is also rich in iodine which prevents the pregnant woman from having pregnancy-related thyroid problems. However, for safety, be cautious of consuming fresh seaweeds since it may have high levels of arsenic and mercury which outweighs the benefits.
Not everyone going to parties love to drink. Others cannot drink or choose not to drink. To make them comfortable without missing the fun, here are some mocktails you might want to try.
Get grooving with creamy cocktails. Love the Russian White recipes here.
Irish moss is a blessing due to its variety of uses. Many livelihoods are anchored with the collection, propagation and processing of this important seaweed.
With its many nutritional benefits, the bottomline is still consumption in moderation. Always weigh the benefits with the ill-effects, especially if one is pregnant, lactating or is sick and have some undiagnosed illness.
On the other hand, Irish Moss drink is a very popular drink in the Caribbeans and among the Irish and the Norwegians. While the recipes here are non-alcoholic, it is very easy to spike a glass with some gin or whiskey.