Jamaica sea moss is unique in that it’s not cultivated in pools or farmed. The 100 percent wild-crafted sea moss is hand harvested in the traditional way from the ocean where it grows near the shore. Sea moss grows wild in the Caribbean off the coast of Jamaica and is known as the collagen of the sea.
When gathering sea moss from its natural habitat, harvesters walk barefoot through the relatively shallow water that can be up to chest high. It allows individuals to feel the sea moss with their feet, while avoiding crabs, jellyfish and other types of ocean life. It’s one of the reasons that sea moss is typically harvested in the early morning, when the water is calm, clear and undisturbed by aquatic wildlife.
Sea moss is gathered by hand into bags in a labor-intensive process and there’s no guarantee how much will be harvested at any given time. It’s then taken to shore where it’s cleaned of any other vegetable matter or unwanted debris. It’s taken to hang in the dark to dry to preserve its coloration before being prepared for sale.
Jamaicans have been harvesting sea moss for generations for its health and medicinal benefits. Wildcrafted sea moss is denser in nutrients. It also requires a combination of knowledge ranging from the flow of the tide according to the time of year and moon phases which affect the tides for optimal harvesting.
Sea moss is prepared for sale in multiple forms. It can be purchased as a syrup, a gel, and dry. It’s also made into soap, mixed with tropical fruits into beverages, and capsules taken as a health supplement. Purple sea moss is the most common variety that grows in Jamaica, but other colors of sea moss are present, including shades of red, green, yellow, brown and black.
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