As I look outside at the snow-covered hills and gray skies that will be our panorama here for the upcoming weeks, I can’t help but think that just over a month ago, I was far from this scene basking in the rays of tropical sunshine, toes in the sand, taking in the myriad of blues and greens that are so characteristic of the Caribbean Sea.
I have always been one to savor smells, sounds, and tastes as they have the ability to instantly transport you to almost any time and any place. For me, the smell of melted butter is Christmas. The sound of Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” takes me to my college job at Bruster’s Ice Cream, and the taste of my Yia Yia’s Greek cookies floods my senses with memories of my childhood. I so love the idea of the sensory-memory connection, that I even purchased a special perfume (Diesel’s Fuel for Life) when I traveled to Mexico for my Fulbright year. Any time I get the slightest hint of that smell, I am transported to the land of late night street tacos and strolls through Chapultepec Park.
But sometimes, when your senses are so bombarded with sights, sounds, smells, and tastes, it’s funny to see what you actually remember later on. Such was the case on the lush island of Grenada. From the water taxis, to the expansive beach, to the animated open air market, my senses were saturated by the vibrant colors and sights from the moment I stepped foot on the island.
But, after the whole experience was said and done, the one thing I wished to recreate once I returned home was the Sea Moss smoothie that I had tried in the market. For some reason or another, I felt beckoned to concoct my own version of the smoothie at home. Maybe in the back of my mind, I secretly hoped that it would ferry me for a short moment to the lively atmosphere of the Grenada market, or maybe I was simply lured by a flavor that was completely new to my palate.
Whatever the case, the Sea Moss smoothie was on my mind. So, I did a little research about sea moss and here’s what I found. Sea moss, which is also known as Irish moss, is a type of seaweed that got its nickname in the 1800s because it was used during the Irish famine to strengthen the malnourished. It has a variety of health benefits. First, it is a great source of potassium which helps to improve mental and behavioral functions. It also contains algin, a phytonutrient that has the ability to pull heavy metals out of our body tissue. It is commonly used to remedy bronchitis, coughs, sore throats, and chest congestion, and the seaweed has anti-inflammatory properties and can help with joint injuries.
So, you are probably wondering, what does it taste like? By itself, it has an ocean-like taste. Fishy, you ask? No, it’s not fishy at all, but rather tastes mildly like seawater. When it is mixed into anything, no flavor can be detected. I have been sticking it in smoothies because it creates an amazing creamy consistency. It can also be used like tapioca or chia seeds to gel a liquid. I had read some reviews online that it would make your kitchen stink like fish. This is not the case. You do not have to cook or boil it to create the gel. You simply let the sea moss soak overnight and then blend it with water. It will gel on its own. I have kept my container of sea moss gel in the refrigerator for three weeks now and it is still good. I would only make about 1 cup (recipe below) at a time because you don’t need a lot. I also highly recommend this source for your sea moss. I really like all of the products that Terrasoul Superfoods sells.
So, what does this smoothie taste like? It is like drinking a very luscious, frosty horchata. I love the whispers of nutmeg, mace, and cinnamon that are swirled through each sip. Take a quick trip to the Caribbean with this Grenada-inspired refreshment 😉
Licuado de Músgo Irlandés
Smoothie (Makes about 2 cups)
1 TBSP prepared sea/Irish moss gel (see recipe below)
1 cup whole milk
2-3 TBSP sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of mace
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup ice
→Place all of the ingredients in a blender, EXCEPT for the ice. Blend for one minute.
→Add the ice and blend until the mixture looks almost like soft serve ice cream.
Sea Moss Gel (Makes about 1 cup)
½ cup raw dry sea/Irish moss
1 cup water
→Place sea moss in a colander and rinse thoroughly to remove the sand and dirt.
→Put sea moss in a large bowl (It will expand.) and cover with cool water. Leave the bowl sit uncovered at room temperature for 6-24 hours. (I let mine soak overnight.)
→Remove the hydrated sea moss from the water and rinse thoroughly one last time to remove any more sand. Place in a blender. Add 1 cup of fresh cool water and blend on high speed until a smooth gel forms, about 1-2 minutes.
→The sea moss gel will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.
- I used raw milk (my new favorite obsession) to give added health benefits to this smoothie.
- You could substitute a healthier sweetener, like coconut sugar, for the sweetened condensed milk if you’d like, however the sweetened condensed milk provides the same flavor as the smoothie we had in Grenada.