I have decided to keep track of the unique plants we plant that can be used for food. This way as my friends begin to plant their own gardens I hope these notes will help them with their own garden and home cooking plans.
As I go about processing the plants I will add notes in the comments section below the note.
This is a posting about the Irish moss we are planting in our front flower garden. It can be used for clearing brewed beer, healthy drinks, and in salads. I The information below I saved to my computer a year ago and I can not find the original site I got it from .
Irish moss is a mat growing hardy perennial that looks like moss but is actually seaweed. They can reach up to a height of 10 cm. Tiny lime green colored leaves characterize this plant with tiny white flowers that blossom in spring. Irish moss can be grown at home to serve as filler in rock gardens, stepping zones and bricks.
Growing Irish moss
The best time to start growing Irish moss is during the spring or autumn season. Once the seeds have been sown in the ground they should be lightly covered by sand. In general the seeds should be sown at a distance of 10 cm from each other. If however you have the spreading variety then you should space it out 20 cm apart from each other. You should plant your seeds in an area that receives plenty of sunshine during the day. The soil should be sandy and moist yet not too wet.
Irish moss can also be grown indoors. In this case you should start planting at least two months prior to the last spring frost. It will take around three weeks for the seeds to germinate indoors. After the last spring frost has passed then you can transplant them on the outside.
Caring for Irish Moss
One of the best things about Irish moss is that it is real easy to take care of. Since Irish moss likes moist soil it is important that they be watered regularly. They should be watered on a weekly basis during the first year. Care must be taken not to make the soil too wet. This is why it is important to plant your seeds in well drained soil. Irish moss should also be given regular feed. In order to protect your Irish moss from aphids you should try and grow them near plants that attract ladybirds.
Cultivation of Irish
Cultivation of Irish moss is not possible. Yet the seaweed can be collected from the rocky coasts off Ireland. This region has low tide all year round which makes collecting them really easy. Irish moss should not be harvested from polluted areas.
Know that Irish moss needs to be rinsed thoroughly prior to making use of it. The way to prepare it for use is to soak it in water and then cook it until the liquid sets yet the moss does not dissolve completely.
Uses of Irish Moss
The dried herb can then be turned into a decoction.
It can be consumed by adding half an ounce of the herb into water and bringing it to a boil. It can be strained and combined with other juices to form a delicious drink that also has immense health benefits.
How to make Irish moss drink
Irish moss is available in the market in its fresh and dried form. Either of the two can be used to make the Irish moss drink. Dried Irish moss can be used as it is whereas fresh Irish moss needs to be cleaned first. The Irish moss must be left submerged in the water for a couple of hours before putting it on the stove to heat. When the contents come to a boil you need to sieve the contents out into a jar. To this you will add the milk and nutmeg. Sugar and strawberry syrup can be added to give the Irish moss drink a nice flavor.
Caribbean Irish moss recipe
If you go for fresh Irish moss then you will need about 20 grams. On the other hand if you will be using dried Irish moss you will need up to 50 grams for this recipe. You will also require two and a half liters of water, some milk, grated nutmeg and delicious strawberry syrup. You will also be adding sugar according to your taste.
In case you are using dried Irish moss you will have to begin with soaking it in water for a couple of hours. For the fresh moss all you have to do is clean the other parts of the seaweed and wash it so as to remove all the dirt and sand.
You will proceed by simmering the Irish moss in water until it becomes tender. Then bring the water to a boil. Next up strain the liquid using a fine sieve or a muslin cloth. To this you will add the sugar nutmeg and milk. Then the special strawberry syrup will be added in order to give it a pink color and a lovely taste. The Caribbean Irish moss is served chilled hence it needs to be kept in the refrigerator until it sets.
Irish moss drink health benefits
The seaweed after which this traditional Irish drink is named is a rich source of carageenan along with other substances that can be used to thicken liquids. Irish moss has served as a potent source for carageenan which is used in ice creams, milk, toothpaste and other such products.
The consumption of carageenan from Irish moss has beneficial effects on the body. It increases the body’s metabolism and also promotes healthier functioning of the immune system. It also acts as a water soluble fiber which helps to soothe the intestines. Irish moss also has the ability to absorb toxins.
Irish moss has also been used to treat health problems like mucous membranes and other lung conditions. Herbalists believe Irish moss has the ability to strengthen the body’s resistance to infectious diseases such as cancer.
Much like other seaweeds Irish moss is rich in a number of minerals. Sulfur, iodine and selenium are some of the minerals that Irish moss is abundantly rich in. This particular seaweed is rich in a combination of some unusual sugars such as fructose, sucrose and glucose.
Being seaweed, Irish moss is potent with some essential minerals and vitamins. It is believed to have up to 18 essential elements found in the composition of the body. The consumption of Irish moss helps to boost the functions of the immune system and can hasten recovery from a wide range of illnesses.
Irish moss drink is believed to work wonders for the skin. Because the seaweed is rich in minerals and vitamins it becomes a source of nourishment for the skin. Regular consumption of Irish moss will turn dry patched up skin into healthy and glowing skin.
Another health benefit to be derived from Irish moss is its laxative properties. Irish moss helps to lubricate the intestines promoting a healthy digestive system. Furthermore it is known to be effective against bladder and kidney problems along with peptic and duodenal ulcers. Irish moss also prevents coagulation of blood in the veins.
Irish moss can also be used for culinary purposes. It serves as an excellent alternative to conventional gelatin. It is used as a gelling agent in the preparation of stews, soups, salad dressings and gravies. It is also used as a stabilizer in a wide range of dairy products as well as a key skin softening ingredient in lotions.
Adding Irish Moss to a Home Brew
- Not all brewers agree as to exactly how much Irish moss to add to a beer. Brewing guru Charlie Papazian suggests using 1/4 teaspoon, but some recipes call for as much as a full teaspoon. The Irish moss does not add any flavor to the beer, so using a little more or a little less will not negatively impact your brew.
- Irish moss should be added to the wort, the sugary concoction that becomes beer through the process of fermentation, during the last 15 minutes of the boiling stage. Certain types of flavoring hops may be added at the same time depending on the beer recipe you are using. The wort can then be strained (a sanitized colander will work for this) into the fermenting bucket to help clear your beer even more. This will eliminate larger particles from the wort, but still allow some of the Irish moss into the fermentation bucket to continue clearing the beer.
How It Works
- Irish moss is a fining agent. Over the course of the fermentation process, Irish moss gathers the smaller protein, polyphenol and lipid particles together and thereby forms larger particles that will settle easier at the bottom of the fermentation bucket. These molecules, if left to their own devices, will form a cloudy haze in your beer.
Irish moss is a clearing agent. It is designed to remove cloudiness from beer, so the home brew appears more professional. It will not significantly alter the taste of the beer.
- 1 First bring the wort to boiling, as with any brew. The Irish moss won’t come into play until later in the boil, so just go ahead and begin making the wort with whatever recipe you are working with.
- 2 When you have about 15 to 20 left minutes until the end of the boil (usually about 45 minutes into the boil), then you need to add the Irish moss. The quantity of moss varies depending on the amount of beer you are making, but most packages of Irish moss come with measuring instructions. One tablespoon for a five-gallon batch is usually enough. It is okay to add the moss along with the hops addition if it helps you to remember to do it.
3 Now continue brewing as normal. When you move the wort into the fermentation bucket, strain out the Irish moss if you desire, but it isn’t necessary. Remember, it takes time for the beer to clear, even with the Irish moss, so patience is key. Usually the beer should clear by two weeks into fermentation, but sometimes it can take even longer.