Optimise your wellbeing by learning to make this vegan style refreshingly sweet spiced infused Jamaican sea moss drink recipe more commonly known as Irish moss. A modern blender technique with no boiling required making it carrageenan free!!
If you're looking for a nutritious beverage that is good for your health and tastes delicious then this sea moss drink has it going on. When it comes to adding the right spice blends to a tropical drink, the Caribbean are good at mastering that fine balance.
If you want to learn how to make sea moss drink that is vegan, modified yet still packed with flavour then read ahead.
What is sea moss?
Sea moss is a type of algae which grows on the rocky parts the Atlantic coast and North America. It is referred to by several names including Irish moss, Chondrus Crispus and Carrageen moss. You will also see it labelled as either of the aforementioned names.
Growing up I knew it as Jamaican Irish moss or simply sea moss so I may use those two names interchangeably throughout this post.
Pure sea moss has become contemporary which sees raw sea moss used in Dr Sebi's alkaline diet, gels/paste and used as a thickening agent.
Is Carrageenan the same as sea/Irish moss?
No, Carrageenan is a refined and highly processed derivative from the sea moss. This gum extract is what is commercially used in many food and drinks such as ice cream, syrups, beverages and used as a stabiliser or to add texture.
Many people are under the impression that pure sea moss is not healthy when it's actually the highly processed substance that comes from Irish moss that is problematic.
For this recipe we are working with pure/unrefined sea moss which has not undergone any high processed treatment. The drink itself is minimally processed and not boiled to retain as much nutrients as possible.
The traditional way of making Irish moss drink/sea moss drink - the Jamaican way
The traditional method for making Irish moss is non vegan. First of all you would rinse the moss several times to remove any debris and sea salt.
Then leave the moss to soak and expand overnight in water so it is easier to boil. From there you would transfer the Irish moss and water into a large pot.
Then add thickeners - Isinglass - a substance that comes from the stomach of a surgeon, gum arabic and linseed (flaxseed). All of the aforementioned would be brought to the boil for 30-40 minutes to make a thick gelatinous substance.
Next you would allow the liquid to cool slightly then strain off the liquid which would turn completely into a panacotta/blancmange type of gelatin.
Once the sea moss gel is portioned, a small amount is added to the blender along with sweetener - condensed milk/honey/milk along with spices and vanilla.
Some people turn things up a notch by adding stout, rum, guinness or peanuts for additional flavour.
Irish moss is quite a potent drink known as a love potion in the Caribbean so many women would prepare this for their spouse. Nowadays the the drink has evolved so much that it is consumed by both genders.
How to make sea moss drink
My way of making Irish sea moss drink is different from the traditional method. With that being said, I felt it was appropriate to share the true Jamaican way of making Irish moss because whenever I modify a recipe from my heritage I ALWAYS acknowledge it's origins and reasons for any changes.
Don't boil Irish moss - As Irish moss is packed with so much nutritional value, one of the main recipe modifications is to NOT boil the moss but rather let the moss soak overnight along with the linseed.
Although you won't get that extra thick gelatin, you will preserve most if the nutritional value which is a lot more healthier.
Isinglass and arabic gum is optional - As this is a vegan recipe Isinglass is forbidden. Gum arabic is merely a thickener and because we are using the entire sea moss there really is no need to add any additives.
Drain off the water from the moss - which brings me to my other point in respect to creating a thick substance without boiling out the nutritional value.
Puree the entire moss - The whole sea moss will be used, nothing is to be wasted. Add the moss/flax water to a high speed blender and puree into a gel consistency.
Sweetener - I like to use a low GI index sweetener to keep within the realm of good health. Agave nectar, coconut nectar or maple syrup are good vegan alternative to honey. You can also use my condensed coconut milk for additional sweetness.
Plant based milk - Coconut milk or almond milk work really well. After making this recipe many times I would highly recommend using almond milk as it really compliments the taste.
Store any leftover sea moss gel - Some people suggest storing it in the refrigetor for upto a month. I personally disagree and suggest using the blended sea moss gel in 3-4 days maximum . Alternatively, you can freeze in small portions, ready to use.
Spices - Dont forget to add your spices - cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla
Where to buy Irish moss
Irish moss is widely available online (amazon, etsy) and also the best place to purchase it from. If you live in an ethnic neighbourhood then you can find Caribbean brands of Irish moss in your local supermarket. Make sure the moss that you purchase is whole and not flaked and definitely not made in China.
Try to buy sea moss that is described as "wide harvested" or wildcrafted" this a good way of determining its authenticity. Irish moss should also have some signs of debris - sand/sea salt which needs to be thoroughly washed off using your hands.
It shouldn't have a strong smell of cholrine which some people have reported, so be mindful of that.
How to make a single serving
If you want to make a small individual serving of Irish moss drink. Instead of using the entire bag of moss, simply measure out ⅓ cup of sea moss.
Follow the instructions below only using about 2-3 cups of water soak the moss. Just add the sea moss along with the rest of the ingredients to a blender.
More Jamaican/Caribbean drink recipes
Jamaican Carrot Juice
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Sea Moss Drink (Irish Moss Drink)
To make the sea moss gel
- 100 g of Jamaican Irish moss/sea moss
- 6 cups warm water to soak the moss
- 2 tbsp of linseed flaxseed
To make the drink
- 1 cup Almond milk can use coconut milk
- Coconut condensed milk optional to taste
- ¼ cup of Sweetener - coconut nectar agave nectar, maple syrup
- ⅛ tsp Nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp of Vanilla
- Place the sea moss in a colander.
- Use your hands to thoroughly wash any debris and excess sea salt from your moss. Do this several times until the sea moss looks and feels less gritty.
- Place the sea moss and flaxseed in a large size bowl with the 6 cups of warm water and leave to soak overnight. The moss will expand in size and the water should thicken slightly
- Use a colander to pour and drain off the excess water that was used to soak the sea moss
- Place the sea moss into a blender bowl and puree into a paste. The sea moss should be gelatinous in texture. Don't worry it's not too thick to begin with, when you store in a large jar in the refrigerator it will turn thick over time
- Scoop out the paste and transfer into a jar/bowl and refrigerate.
- Add 4tbsp of the sea moss paste along with the almond milk, vanilla, spices, sweetener of your choice into a high speed blender
- Blend into a smooth consistency - add any extra i.e rum, stout, oats etc.. now if required
- serve accordingly.
- Some people refrigerate their moss gel for up to 4 weeks. I recommend storing it for 3-4 days for maximum potency.
- For longevity freeze the gel into small ice cubes.
- DO NOT USE powdered or flaked sea moss, this form of moss is refined as has loss it's nutritional value.
- You can also use this recipe to make the sea moss gel only for additional purposes
- To make a single glass of this drink use ⅓ cup of moss instead soaked in 2-3 cups of water and follow the rest of the instructions.
- Make sure the sea moss you are using is "Wildcrafted" or "Wild Harvested".
- If you are facing any difficultly pureeing your sea moss into gel, add a splash of water. I own a high speed blender (vitamix) which makes a huge difference.
- It is normal for the moss gel to thicken up as it is refrigerated.
- If the actual drink is too thick, add a splash of almond milk