Carrageen (Chondrus crispus)
Carrageen is one of the most beautiful seaweeds and can be used rehydrated in salads, pickled as a garnish on dishes, as topping on pies or as a garnish in cocktails, as gelatine or gel made of gelatine can be used as a daily diet supplement or extremely effective moisturising agent in skincare.
Carrageen has a high content of minerals, iodine, potassium, natrium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and trace elements, Iron, mangan, zink, copper and selenium, vitamins A, C, E, and B and nearly 10% of its dry weight is protein. The gelatine it produces is thought to protect the microbiome of our guts and have anti inflammatory and anti viral properties.
Carrageen, also called Irish moss, is a red seaweed which can grow up to 10 cm long’ its growth is greater at deeper depth and it varies in morphology depending on the level of exposure. Carrageen colour also varies from yellow to red to purple black depending on their exposure to oxygen. Its main constituent is polysaccharide carrageenan (E407), vegetarian thickening agent.
Traditionally in Ireland and Scotland it is boiled in milk and strained, before adding sugar and other flavourings such as whiskey, vanilla or cinnamon. The end product is jelly-like, similar to panna-cotta.
Carrageen can be used as a vegan replacement for gelatine, as a thickener and stabilizer in milk dishes, and can be also milled and used in baking.
TIP: wash dried carragen thoroughly under running water. Boil for 20 minutes om medium heat. Strain the gel. Use one spoon a day in yogurt or smoothie. Mix the remaining gel with body oil for extra moisture and apply after shower or use directly on face and hair to lock moisture in.
Carrageen tastes like a mixture of vegetable and seafood with a profound umami flavour. The jelly after cooking is tasteless
10 g dried weight. This will mahe about 60g carrageen when rehydrated.