This is a debate between the possibility of doing a thing – yes, you can boil sea moss gel – with the wisdom of doing a thing.
While many people boil their sea moss to turn it into sea moss gel, the evidence that doing so strips out…well, pretty much all the nutrients from the sea moss is high. It’s the same as boiling broccoli – you can do it, and the broccoli will be tasty, but a lot of the nutrients will leech out into the cooking liquid, and stay there once you strain your vegetables.
Once your sea moss has been turned into sea moss gel, its nutrients are slightly more stable – and the likelihood is that whatever you add your gel to, you’ll be consuming anyway – so you’ll be losing fewer nutrients that way. Obviously though, with any superfood, you want to maintain as many of their nutrients as possible, and anything that introduces evaporation has the potential to lose some of the nutrients for which you’ve worked pretty hard.
Do you have to boil sea moss?
You don’t have to, no. In fact, plenty of people believe that by boiling your sea moss, you’re making it far less nutritionally useful, by boiling away or leeching out many of the nutrients in the moss. The less heat you have to introduce to a vegetable or moss, the more likely you are to retain its full complement of nutrients.
If you want to make sea moss gel without boiling, it’s pretty straightforward. Clean your sea moss thoroughly. In fact, do it twice, just to be sure. Then sit it in a bowl covered with (ideally) filtered water and leave it to soak for 12-14 hours.
Remove the sea moss, but retain the water – the water will still have pulled out some nutrients from the moss, and you can use it to make your gel, to make sure you get the most nutrient-rich end product.
Add your moss to a high-powered blender, along with 1 cup of the retained moss-water to start.
Blitz the moss, adding additional moss-water as you go for about 3 minutes, till it’s smooth - or reaches a consistency you’re happy with. Put it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Two hours later, it will have solidified into a gel.
Sea moss gel without the boiling – always an option.
How long do you boil sea moss?
Opinions on the length of time you boil your sea moss to make sea moss gel differ depending on who you ask, but you shouldn’t need too long – especially if you’re counting the time it actually boils. If you soak your sea moss in cold water for 15 minutes to clean out any grit or unwanted particles first, add the moss to a pan of water. Bring the water to the boil (the time needed to do this will of course depend on the size of the pan and the amount of water you use).
Once your sea moss and water are visibly boiling, cover the pan, and turn the heat down from a boil to a simmer. Keep the pan on a simmer for between 20-25 minutes. Then turn out your sea moss liquid and refrigerate overnight. Boom – sea moss gel at home.
The point about this method is that it’s the simmer that has a more or less definite time factor. How long you boil the sea moss for will depend on the size of the pan and the amount of water you use. You’ll know the sea moss water’s boiling when bubbles start appearing all around the edge of the water. Much longer than that and you’ll be into a rolling boil (imagine a sea full of drunken, fighting sea serpents and you’ve pretty much got the idea).
So while there’s a certainty on the simmer, the real answer for how long you boil sea moss is “for as long as it takes to get to boiling point.”
How much sea moss does it take to make gel?
The answer to this question is a combination of two factors – how much gel do you want, and how thick do you like it?
Most people find that two cups of sea moss (equivalent to around 1 ounce) plus 4 fluid ounces of water gives them around a half-gallon of gel.
If you prefer your gel on the thicker side, add more moss and keep the amount of water the same – though be sure it still covers all the moss you use.
If you want double the quantity of original-thickness gel, get a bigger pan, and double the quantities of both the water and the moss. For double the quantity of extra-thick, double the quantities you used to get your half-gallon batch.
Once you have your initial golden ratio – 1:4 sea moss to water – you can scale up (or down, if you choose) as you need.
Can you drink sea moss gel with water?
You certainly can drink sea moss gel with water, but doing so depends on you having or developing a taste for cordials that taste more or less like seaweed.
If that’s your bag, by all means go right ahead – there’s nothing harmful in the sea moss gel. It’s just that usually – certainly in Western cultures – people balk at the taste in such a raw, flavor-punching application.
People often add their sea moss gel to smoothies or juice blasts, so they can have a leading flavor profile more familiar and palatable to them, while still getting the nutritional benefits of the sea moss gel.
In the Caribbean, they sometimes also make their sea moss gel with a couple of cinnamon sticks thrown in during the gelling process, to give an additional flavor to the base gel taste. Then they add 1 cup of sea moss gel to 2 cups of water, a quarter-teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 7 ounces of sweetened condensed milk. Blended together and with grated nutmeg added to taste, you get a more decadent, vacation cocktail vibe, while still getting your sea moss gel benefits.
Ultimately then, the answer is yes, you can – but you can also do things to it that mitigate the taste while still delivering the nutritional benefits.