Irish Moss

Preview a leafy bunch of red algae on a rock
(Christophe Quintin)

Irish moss is a term used for several species of red algae. In the northern Atlantic Chondrus crispus claims the name while in the Carribbean it is Eucheumatopsis isiformis. Both contain a large amount of carrageen, a compound that thickens to a jelly when cooked. In the Caribbean, Irish moss pudding is often flavored with cinnamon and vanilla and topped with milk and rum. In Ireland and Scotland, a similar traditional pudding and milk drink is not only a tasty dessert but also a nourishing remedy for the ill.