Sea moss, popularly known as Irish sea moss (Purple sea moss), is a type of red algae that grows on the Atlantic Ocean. Sea moss's numerous uses and potential benefits to the human body attributes to its recent rise in uptake as a superfood.
Consuming sea moss is mainly through its gel and pill forms. If you take sea moss in any of these forms, you need to know how long it lasts, can sea moss pills expire, and how to extend the shelf life.
This article answers the question, how long does sea moss gel last?
Does Sea Moss Gel Expire?
Sea moss gel is made by blending dried moss and water or sea moss powder with water. Since making sea moss gel involves a natural product, it will expire.
How Long Does Sea Moss Gel Last?
This depends on the type of sea moss used and how it is made. To make sea moss gel, you can use natural or fake sea moss. To identify between real and fake sea moss, some of the distinguishable differences to watch out for include:
- Natural sea moss comes in varying colours (purple, green, red, black, or brownish), while fake sea moss has a standardised colour.
- Natural sea moss also has varying shapes and thicknesses, unlike fake sea moss, which comes roughly in a standard thickness.
- Natural sea moss will probably have seaweed, while fake sea moss won't have such seaweeds since they are grown in the pool.
First, clean the seaweed when using it to make sea moss gel at home. Then soak the raw dried sea moss in fresh spring water for 24 to 48 hours. After soaking it, rinse and blend it with fresh water to make a jelly-like substance.
Homemade sea moss gel has a shelf life of 2 to 3 weeks if handled and stored correctly. If you prefer to buy ready-made organic sea moss gel, it should also have a shelf life of about 2 to 3 weeks.
However, if your sea moss gel has a longer lifespan than expected, it implies that fake sea moss made the gel. Fake sea moss gel is long-lasting because chemicals and preservatives are added to its growing and preservation processes.
It is vital to watch out for the fake sea moss gel you are consuming because, unlike natural sea moss, fake sea moss has less nutritional value and, thus, less effective as a superfood.
What Can You Do To Prolong The Life Of Sea Moss Gel?
To make sea moss gel fresher for longer, you should handle it like any other perishable food. First, store it in an airtight container that is not full to the brim. Such a container prevents air from getting into the container, which can cause the sea moss gel to deteriorate quickly. The space left in the container gives the gel room to expand when it is stored.
Store sea moss gel in the fridge at all times. Refrigeration is essential because if the sea moss gel is stored in a damp and warm place, it easily develops bacteria, making it decay quickly.
When refrigerated, the gel should be in the back section of the fridge. This back part is usually the coolest part of the refrigerator. Storing the sea moss gel in this part of the fridge also means that the gel is not removed from the refrigerator unnecessarily every time you need to pick something behind the sea moss gel.
Proper handling of the sea moss gels minimises contamination and makes it last longer. Every time you use the refrigerated sea moss gel, you should use clean utensils to scoop it out of the container. It would be best to avoid curious dipping fingers in the gel. These handling measures reduce the chance of introducing germs to the gel, therefore, extending the shelf life of the fresh sea moss gel.
You can also store your homemade sea moss gel in an ice cube tray in the freezer. This type of storage is very convenient for you, especially when you want to make sea moss gel drinks because all you have to do is to pop the ice cubes and use them. Frozen sea moss gel's shelf life is 2 to 3 months.
How Can I Tell If Sea Moss Gel Is Bad?
Whether you have refrigerated or frozen your sea moss gel, it will still degrade after some time. High-quality sea moss gel made from natural sea moss has no preservatives and will go bad faster than gel made from fake sea moss.
Some of the signs to look out for to know if your gel is bad include:
- Colour changes: high-quality sea moss gel has a tannish colour resembling sand when it is fresh. If it develops a deeper hue than its original colour, it is a sign that the gel is nearing the end of its shelf life.
- Changes in taste: Irish moss gel is tasteless. If it starts to develop a sharp taste, it indicates that the gel is past its expiration date and it is time to throw it away.
- Changes in smell: Irish moss gel might have a faint fishy smell depending on its making. However, if it develops an overly fishy or sour smell, the gel is terrible and should not be consumed.
- Mould growth: When dark green patches start forming on the top of your Irish moss gel, the gel has gone bad.
- Changes in consistency: When your gel becomes too watery or slimy, it has gone bad, and you should not eat it.
Do Sea Moss Pills Expire?
Sea moss pills are made from carefully sun-dried moss. The dried sea moss is crushed and put into capsules to make pills.
Sea moss pills have a longer shelf life of about one year. However, pills do expire. To know if the capsules have expired, you should watch out for their smell and appearance.
Expired pills have mould appearing on the capsules and develop a fishy and sour smell. When your pills exhibit these signs, they are not fit for consumption.
It is best to keep the pills away from warm places that could expose them to humidity and water to prolong the life of the capsules. This measure prevents mould from forming, making the pills fresher for longer.
Can I Use Expired Sea Moss Pills And Gel?
While you can get away with consuming spoiled sea moss pills and gel, it is not advisable to consume them. Like any other expired foods, expired pills and gel contain harmful bacteria that can make you sick.
Some discomforts that you will experience after taking expired sea moss include:
- Being Gassy: expired moss might end up making you feel bloated.
- Stomach upsets: you might experience cramping due to indigestion of the expired moss.
- Diarrhoea: Diarrhoea will likely occur because your digestive system doesn't agree with the bacteria you ingested in the gel. In such a case, you should always stay hydrated.
- Nausea and Vomiting: Because your body is trying to get rid of the expired food you ate, you will experience signs of nausea and vomiting.
- Fatigued: You might experience a feeling of being tired because your body is using energy to fight the bacteria you ingested in the bad pills and gel.
Please note: The severity of the symptoms you encounter depends on how much you consume and how far past the expiration date the pills and gel were when you took them. Therefore, you might experience mild discomforts to serious ones such as food poisoning.
What happens if you eat expired sea moss gel?
After consuming expired sea moss, various outcomes may occur. Being aware of these potential effects can help you recognize and address them if you suspect you've ingested expired sea moss.
Here are 8 possible consequences of eating expired sea moss:
Mild gas can occur after consuming expired sea moss, but it usually subsides within 24 hours. Drinking peppermint tea may help if you feel gassy or bloated.
Diarrhea can arise if the digestive system disagrees with something, possibly bacteria in the sea moss. Stay hydrated by drinking water, and seek medical assistance if diarrhea persists beyond 12 hours to prevent dehydration.
Expired sea moss may cause stomach cramps or indigestion. This discomfort typically passes within hours, and drinking peppermint or ginger tea may provide relief.
Nausea and Vomiting:
Nausea, a common symptom of consuming expired foods, helps your body eliminate pathogens. Inhaling the scent of fresh ginger may alleviate nausea. Vomiting, while unpleasant and potentially dehydrating, expels problematic food. Stay hydrated and seek medical attention if vomiting continues for over six hours.
A bloated stomach, distended abdomen, and sensation of fullness can result from ingesting expired sea moss. Lying on your side with a heating pad on your abdomen may help alleviate these symptoms.
Feeling tired is your body's way of signaling that it's fighting an invader. If you experience fatigue, try to rest.
Expired sea moss may not be harmful but may lack nutrients it once had. Although you may not fall ill, expired sea moss might not offer the health benefits you anticipated.
Often, consuming expired sea moss or other expired foods may have no effect, especially if the amount ingested was small and the expiration date not far past.
So, How long does sea moss gel last?
How long sea moss gel last depends on its storage and handling. Ensure that your sea moss gel is in sealed containers that are always refrigerated. Freezing the gel should be your top choice for storage because frozen sea moss gel has a longer life span. On the other hand, pills can last up to a year. To keep them fresh, store them in a cool and dry place.
If you are concerned about the life span of the sea moss supplements, then avoid stocking them in large quantities.