Irish moss (Chondrus crispus) is a reddish seaweed that flourishes in tide pools and inlets in the northeastern United States. Irish moss is harvested to produce carrageenan, a gelatinous, tasteless carbohydrate used as a thickener in dairy products, cosmetics and baked goods. Irish moss can be used to thicken soups and milkshakes or to clarify beer. Irish moss was introduced to Rhode Island by Europeans, according to the University of Rhode Island.
Wash Irish moss in fresh water. Rinse. Repeat this several times, until the water runs clear.
Combine Irish moss and milk in a double boiler to make pudding or a base for ice cream or milk shakes. Use ½ cup Irish moss per qt. of milk.
Cook over boiling water for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm.
Strain the milk and discard the Irish moss. Add other ingredients such as sugar and flavoring and refrigerate several hours or overnight. For ice cream, cool, then freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions.
Boil Irish moss with water or broth as the base for a soup. Boil for 30 minutes, strain and discard the moss. Add meat, vegetables and other soup ingredients and simmer until done.