Seaweed has for years been lauded for the medicinal properties it holds with many health and wellness products being harvested from it. Carrageenan is another byproduct of seaweed. Although it isn’t related to health and wellness, it is something we have been eating in our food for years without knowledge.
The process of turning the particular red seaweed into usable carrageenan is a simple one and could even be carried out in your kitchen at home. It requires minimum processing to say the least. The process involves a gentle, non-acidic solution in which to boil the seaweed. The seaweed is then filtered and placed in a blender and ground into a powder which is the additive we know as carrageenan. The method was carried out in homes in Ireland hundreds of years ago.
Carrageenan, contrary to the rumor mills, has been scientifically proven to be safe for consumption. In fact it has been used in many of our everyday food products for years without negative impact. It is often used to thicken and stabilize foods and also as a vegan alternative to gelatin in foods that are required to set. The product is vegan, vegetarian, kosher and halal approved and has been given the green light by the FDA.
Controversy comes in when people who are misinformed confuse it with the harmful and definitely not made for consumption poligeenan. Yes they are harvested from the same source, however, the processes are completely different in reaching the finished product.
The wonderful thing about carrageenan is that it can be harvested in the home. In many countries this is done as a small scale business. This is not only a small boost for the local economy it also provides a means by which the problem of global hunger can be combated. It is a food stabilizer and is used to prolong the life of various foods giving a longer shelf life. Remote villages and communities are now able to get access to these foods which are of nutritional value. This would otherwise be impossible as the life of the food would be past its due date before it arrived and of course they would be unable to store it for a lengthy period of time and would have to be disposed of – a real shame in areas where food is a basic necessity that is often gone without.
Carrageenan is certainly safe to use and for years it has been by many food manufacturers and producers. With health and nutrition at the forefront in an ever-increasing overweight and unhealthy nation, the sugar reducing properties of the additive go a long way in changing the way people view good products.
Don’t be misled by misinformation, carrageenan is completely consumable, you have been eating it for years and just were not aware of it. Whatever you food preferences or inclinations, it can be used to thicken, smooth or stabilize almost any food product and it’s completely safe for vegans, vegetarians, kosher and halal consumers.
Seaweed has so many benefits where health and wellbeing are concerned. Carrageenan is just another benefit that allows you to enjoy what life has to offer.