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Irish moss or carrageenan is harvested on the coasts of Ireland and then dried in the sun, which is why it retains its beautiful colors, unlike other varieties of Irish moss of white color.
This red seaweed is rich in nutrients, especially minerals, like all sea vegetables, as well as antioxidants. According to some sources, this tasteless seaweed is rich in health-promoting nutrients such as proteins, sulfur compounds, iodine, bromine, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, pectin, vitamins B and C. The amino acid taurine, which contains sulfur, is absent from any vegetarian diet but is abundant in Irish moss.
Its particularity is that it contains a powerful gelling agent that makes it a valuable emulsifier in the preparation of raw foods, especially desserts. It can be used to replace nuts in a number of recipes, while reducing calories (less fat) and reinforcing the nutritional content: a real miracle! Unlike gelatin derived from animal protein, Sea Moss contains a polysaccharide (a natural form of sugar) which, when properly emulsified, disperses into the liquid to create a semi-solid structure.
The health benefits of Sea Moss are said to be numerous. These could include soothing properties for mucous membranes, making it a valuable aid for gastritis, nausea, indigestion, constipation. When applied externally, it could be used to help with eczema or minor burns. It is especially known for its ability to sustain healthy breathing.
In addition to this long list of qualities, Sea Moss has a alkalizing effect and would have the capacity to help after a long night of partying by improving rehydration.
There are many recipes that call for Irish moss: mousses and other custards, meringue, salad dressings, mayonnaise, jellies, ice creams, smoothies, etc. The best way to prepare it and keep it for several days is to prepare a gel as follows.
Use half a bag, or 25g of dry seaweed. Soak in 2 cups of cold water for a few minutes to slightly rehydrate the moss and allow it to swell. Then clean it well by hand to remove any debris, sand or tiny crustaceans clinging to the plant. Cut the hard pieces with scissors and clean well, then throw away the rinse water.
Then soak the clean seaweed in 2 cups of warm or slightly warm water for at least half an hour to allow the gelling agent to work. Some people recommend soaking the seaweed for several hours (up to 24 hours) at this point, but it is not absolutely necessary. The seaweed will then be well swollen and gelatinous. Then blend the seaweed with the soaking water (otherwise you will lose the gelling agent!) in a powerful blender for a good minute to make a gel. This gel can be kept in the refrigerator for a week, about 7 to 10 days.
The gel can be used in a variety of recipes or as is in a salad dressing, mayonnaise, smoothie or any other thickening preparation. Use 2-3 tablespoons of gel for one cup of thickening material. Excellent for example to prevent oilseed milks from separating during storage and to make them a little thicker.
Elderberry has long been known for its health properties. It contains vitamins and antioxidants that are valuable to our bodies. Antioxidants are of great interest in the biomedical field. They would have the capacity to counteract the damaging effect of free radicals and thus slow down the aging process.
Recent studies have shown that elderberries are among the richest berries in antioxidants: 100 g of European elderberries provide 1700 mg of anthocyanins, a class of antioxidants, while the same amount of blueberries, blackberries or blackcurrants do not provide more than 700 mg. Only the Goji berry does better with 2200 mg per 100g. Moreover, elderberries are rich in vitamins of groups A, B and C, flavonoids, tannins, carotenoids and amino acids.
The consumption of raw berries is not recommended because they are harmful and can cause vomiting and diarrhea especially when they are immature. Therefore, do not eat them raw, or only in small quantities and only when they are ripe.
Elderberry is perfectly edible if only one rule is respected: the flowers and fruits (or its juice) must be cooked. Indeed, elderberry contains a substance -sambunigrin- toxic alkaloid which disappears when cooked at about 65°C/70°C (thermolabile). The harmfulness is then totally destroyed during this cooking and the elderberry is perfectly healthy.