It all comes down to the Carrageen
Carrageen is a small perennial algae that grows best in water that is between the low tide mark and 30 feet of depth. The plants thrive in water ranging between 5 and 15 degrees Celsius. The life cycle of the plant begins in a seed form. These seeds are shed by the plant annually. The plant attaches to the ocean’s rocky shores in a way that resembles being glued to the rocks. The small plant reaches maturity in three to five years, at which time the many branches that cover its top may range in colour from a light yellowish green to an almost purple colour. Mature plants can reach heights up to seven inches and have the unique ability of growing from the bottom. Unlike plants that grow on land, Irish Moss must grow from the bottom due to the harsh environment in which it lives. Many times, throughout its lifespan a storm will whip the water up around it and in turn break the top of the plant off. Growing from the bottom allows the plant to continue developing even after the top has been broken off.
As the spring tides are near we are now looking to our second harvest for our main botanical. When the tides are at their lowest we take to the Islands rugged coastline to find our delicate but at times very illusive Carrageen. We head out when just before the tide is on the turn to maximise the time we have the gather the Carrageen. Found growing from the shores and on low lying rocks we simply hand pick each piece of Carrageen by selecting only the best and most mature of plants as although this is a key botanical in our gin it is also key that we make sure our harvest is sustainable and by picking each piece methodically we can insure that when the next harvest comes around we will an abundance to choose from.
If Carrageen is a super food……does that mean Barra Gin is too??
Used as one of the 17 botanicals in the Barra Gin we take a look at the health benefits that Carrageen carries. Carrageen is a species of red algae that grows in the cool Atlantic waters along the rocky coastlines of Europe and North America. It's also popular in Jamaica so maybe that could be our first stop for our overseas adventures for the Barra Gin. Exceptionally rich in nutrients and antioxidants, Carrageen is quickly gaining a reputation as the next big superfood, in line behind kale, blueberries and fish rich in omega-3s. The healthful properties of Carrageen include Vitamins A, E, F and K, calcium, potassium and sulphur. It is also a naturally occurring source of iodine, which can be difficult to include in one’s diet through food alone (making iodized salt the most common source) and is especially important for supporting healthy thyroid functioning. Rich in potassium chloride, Irish moss can work wonders for congestion and mucous, and holds anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
It’s also thought to be good for dry skin and for skin conditions ranging from eczema to psoriasis, making it a valued ingredient for lotions and moisturizers.
Here’s to good health…