Carrageen / Irish Moss

Irish moss or Carraig'n in Gaelic, is another popular sea vegetable that has close ties with the Ballina area. The name is probably derived from a place in Donegal, which has the same name - Carrageen Head .

Irish moss grows on rocks, in rock pools in the lower intertidal and shallow sub tidal zones. It is attached to the rock bed by means of a holdfast and can grow up to 150 mm in length, Irish moss is dark reddish brown in colour and often appears beautifully iridescent in sunny whether. Carrageen is similar to Dillisk in that it is treated and cured in a similar fashion – it is harvested and allowed to bleach in damp foggy misty weather. Afterwards it is then allowed dry. No artificial additives are used in this process.

What's healthy and NUTRITIOUS about Carrageen?

  • Irish moss contains vitamins A, C, D, E and K, vitamins B1 and B2.
  • It is one of the few vegetarian sources of B12.
  • High content of iodine, calcium, manganese, zinc, bromine, iron and protein.
  • Irish moss is low in fat, with few calories, therefore, ideal for body builders or those who are dieting, a healthy alternative to over the counter vitamin and mineral supplements.

Irish moss has long been recognised for its ability to cure and abate the symptoms of colds and flu, thus the eating of Irish moss forms an effective barrier to the ills of winter. Irish moss contains potassium chloride, this chemical helps to dissolve catharrs, which are responsible for the congestion associated with chesty coughs, therefore, Irish moss provides a healthy natural alternative to many man made over the counter pharmaceutical cough and flu remedies.

How can I use the Carrageen I get from Clarke's?

  • It can be chewed as it is purchased.
  • Use as a natural gelling agent in soups and stews, gravies and salad dressings.
  • Irish moss is a natural alternative to gelantine and is ideal for vegetarians and vegans alike.
For best results follow the instructions below;
Rinse the Carrageen two or three times in cold or tepid water, the Irish moss is then left to soak for 10 to 15 minutes, transfer to a saucepan (still in the soaking medium) and then placed over low heat until the sea vegetable almost totally dissolves. Strained excess liquid if required. Other ingredients can be added if chosen and the resultant mixture should be placed in a bowl and transferred to a fridge. Generally, as a rule of thumb, a half-cup will thicken four to five cups of dilute liquid. Irish moss can therefore, be used as a natural gelling agent in soups and stews, gravies, salad dressings (used in conjunction with a dillisk garnish)

Irish moss is truly a treasure of the sea.

Carrageen is available to purchase in Clarke's Gourmet Seafood Deli or if people require shipping details and costs please contact us

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