Nothing lasts forever, right? This is true for many things, and sea moss is just one example. Sea moss is a popular health food that is thought to offer a variety of health benefits.
However, there are some telltale signs that can indicate when sea moss is bad. Since sea moss comes in a variety of forms, it can be difficult to know for sure if your sea moss is still fresh and safe to consume after the recommended shelf life limit has been reached.
And sometimes, sea moss gel can go bad before the expiry date, although this is a rare occurrence. It helps tremendously to know what to look for so you can stay safe and make sure you are always consuming fresh sea moss!
In this article, we’ll explore 11 ways to tell your sea moss is bad or expired in its various forms, including tips on how to manage expired sea moss.
But first, what exactly is Irish Sea Moss?
What Is Irish Sea Moss?
Irish sea moss (Chondrus crispus) is a type of red algae, a sea vegetable that grows in the cold, shallow waters off the coast of the Atlantic. It’s been used for centuries as a food and medicinal plant, and is especially rich in vitamins and minerals. It often comes in different shades of colors including yellow, green, red, purple, brown and black.
Irish sea moss is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. It is touted to contain 92 of 102 minerals the body needs. Minerals found in sea moss include:
Check this post to learn abut all the minerals contained in sea moss and how they benefit the body.
There are several common names for Sea moss but some people often erroneously refer to sea moss as spirulina. It is important to keep in mind that they are not the same thing. Other names for sea moss include – Chondrus crispus, Irish moss, sea algae, or just seaweed.
How Did Irish Sea Moss Originate?
There are several theories about how sea moss came to be. Judging from its name – Irish moss, the earliest traces of Sea moss origin was from Ireland. During the potato famine in Ireland, people were unable or unwilling to cultivate their own potatoes due an outbreak that caused them significant losses.
One story suggests Irish farmers turned their attention from cultivating these tubers towards “Irish sea moss” which grows near water sources like streams and rivers; it also grew on rocks along beaches where shellfish feed off microscopic algae growing among other organisms below low tide levels.
The Irish sea moss grown was used to help treat nutritional deficiencies that resulted from the famine. The sea moss was prepared and eaten in various ways for its high-nutrient value. This compensated for the deficiency in people’s diet.
Not long afterwards, Irish sea moss became very popular around the world – particularly in America.
Does Dried Sea Moss Gel Expire?
Dried sea moss does indeed spoil, but the good news is that if it is stored correctly it can last much longer than other sea moss forms. Dried sea moss doesn’t technically expire, but it can start to lose its flavor and nutrients after a few months.
Sea moss goes bad overtime because of its high moisture content. The moisture in it will cause the sea moss to mold and mildew (especially if mot properly dried). Usually, packaged sea moss are dried over low temperatures. This ensures it keeps longer on the shelf (up to 12 months).
When you buy dried sea moss in its raw form, it often comes in a sealable bag. They usually will keep up to the shelf life recommended on the pack. However, depending on the source, sea moss may be improperly dried, and then after a few month, molds begin to form.
If you see any black or green spots on your sea moss, it’s time to throw it out. You can often prevent this, and extend the shelf life of your dried sea moss by storing it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
If you want to keep your sea moss fresh, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. You can also keep it in the fridge for up to six months.
Dried sea moss doesn’t technically expire, but it can become less potent over time. The nutrients in dried sea moss are what give it its health benefits, so as the sea moss ages, those nutrients may start to degrade. That’s why it’s best to use dried sea moss within six months of buying it. After that, it might not be as effective in boosting your health.
When you buy dried sea moss in its raw form, it often comes in a sealable bag. Take what you need to use for making gel, powder, capsules, etc. Make sure to seal the bag well when you are finished and store your bag of dried sea moss in a cool, dry place between uses.
If the bag is not re-sealable, simply place your sea moss in an airtight container for storage. Hands can contaminate quickly, so make sure your hands are washed (and dried) before you reach in the bag to take the sea moss you need.
As a general rule, dried sea moss in its raw dried form will last up to one year if it is stored in an airtight container in a cool area with minimal contamination (like dirty hands reaching in the bag).
Do Sea Moss Capsules Expire?
Sea moss capsules can go bad, but like raw dried sea moss, they have a longer shelf life due to being in a dried form.
Moisture is our big enemy when it comes to spoilage, so any sea moss preparation that is dried, or powdered in any form is often going to keep longer. Just like raw dried sea moss, a good rule of thumb is to try to use your sea moss capsules within 1 year.
Definitely avoid getting your sea moss capsules wet or near moisture or water, because this will speed up spoilage and can lead to issues with mold.
Store them in a cool, dry place and avoid contaminating them with dirty hands, water, or fluctuating room temperatures and high humidity.
Does Sea Moss Spoil When Refrigerated?
That all depends on what form of sea moss you are planning to refrigerate. Sea moss gel will usually expire within one month of preparation, even in the refrigerator.
This happens because sea moss gel is a formulation of sea moss that contains a high water content. As previously stated, water can be our enemy when it comes to spoilage.
This is not to say that sea moss gel isn’t a great way to use sea moss, because it actually is one of the best. It just means you need to make only what you think you can use in one month when you are making sea moss gel from dried sea moss.
If you buy sea moss gel, check the label carefully to see when the “best by” date is. Many sea moss gel products will have a date on the side or information that will help you determine how long it should keep.
Some sea moss gel products state on the label to use within a month of opening. Write down when it was opened if you need help keeping track.
As for sea moss in dried forms, storing in the pantry can greatly extend the shelf life well beyond 12 months and possible two to three years.
What Does Expired Sea Moss Look Like?
Expired sea moss typically looks dry and brittle, with a brown or black color. It has a strong, musty smell. If you see any sea moss that looks or smells like this, it’s best to avoid it. It tastes similarly unpleasant, with a sour, fishy flavor.
Bad sea moss gel may contain molds or mildew, which can cause serious health problems if ingested. It may also harbor harmful bacteria that can lead to food poisoning.
If you come across some sea moss that looks and smells OK, but you’re not sure if it’s still good, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw it out. Better safe than sorry.
When sea moss is fresh, it has a much different appearance. It’s a vibrant color, and it doesn’t have much of a smell. This is the type of sea moss you want to use in your recipes.
If you are ever unsure of what to look for to know if your sea moss has gone bad, refer to the information below:
11 Signs that Tell Your Sea Moss is Bad
Color, smell, and changes to the physical characteristics of your sea moss are all major indicators that something isn’t quite right.
Let’s break this down into specifics so you know exactly what to look for in each type of sea moss you may have on hand. It is better to be safe than sorry, so if you notice any indicator below with your sea moss, it may be time to throw it out:
1. Expired Sea Moss Changes Color
Color change in Gold Sea Moss Gel
Gold sea moss will have a noticeably darker yellow color when it goes bad. When you first buy or create sea moss gel with gold sea moss, it has a lovely, light golden color.
If you were to allow it to sit in the refrigerator for too long, you will probably notice that it darkens to a deeper golden yellow color, or even a slight mustard color. This is a good indicator to throw it out.
Color Changes in Purple Sea Moss Gel
Purple sea moss gel can darken when it goes bad, but it is a little harder to notice the color change since the gel is already a darker color.
Fresh purple sea moss gel is often brownish to plum in color. When it goes bad, it darkens to a deeper purple hue or even more dark brown than purple.
Take a picture of your fresh purple sea moss to compare later on if you suspect it has gone bad.
Color Changes in Green and Red Sea Moss Gel
Green and red sea moss gel change to a darker, yet more dull hue when they go bad. Fresh green sea moss has a mossy green color due to the presence of chlorophyll in the plant. It may even appear blue in some lighting.
When it goes bad, it turns a darker brownish-green color. Fresh red sea moss gel has a pinkish color when it is fresh. When it goes bad, that pink color becomes a darker shade of pink with brownish hues.
As with purple sea moss gel, take photos of your fresh colorful gel when you first open them so you can compare later on.
Table 1: Expired Sea moss Properties in Various Forms (Dried, Gel, Powder, Capsules)
|Raw dried Sea moss||Sea moss gel||Sea moss powder||Sea moss capsule|
|Appearance||pale, brittle, flaky||bubbly, slimy coating||crumbled, moldy, sticky||mushy texture, darker|
|Color||brown, black||brown, darker hue||greyish, black||whitish, off white|
|Smell||off-fishy, pungent smell||plain gel has little or no foul smell, flavored gel smell sour (depends on the mix of other ingredients)||moldy smell||no smell|
|Taste||sour, bitter||bitter, sour (depends on mixed flavor such as fruits, spices or herbs)||chalky||–|
2. Expired Sea moss has Off “Fishy” or Foul Smell
Possibly the biggest indicator that something is off, the off “fishy” smell can let you know your sea moss has expired.
Sure, most sea moss (especially in gel form) may have a slight salt water smell, but it shouldn’t smell overly fishy when it is fresh. As it goes bad, that smell is multiplied and becomes much more foul and fishy.
Smell your fresh sea moss and take note of the smell for a point of reference. When you detect the fishy odor and it has been one month or close to that point, it is time to throw it out.
The fishy smell most often occurs in sea moss gel when it expires, but it may also occur in expired dry sea moss preparations, especially if they have been exposed to water.
Table 2: Expired Sea moss Types in Raw Dried Form
|Property||Gold Sea moss||Purple Sea moss||Red Sea moss|
|Color||dark yellow, deep tan||deep purple, harder to notice||darker, dull hue|
|Smell||dusty, mold smell||dusty smell||dusty smell|
Table 2: Expired Sea moss Types in Gel form
|Property||Gold Sea moss gel||Purple Sea moss gel||Red Sea moss gel|
|Color||greyish brown, dark brown||greyish purple, dark purple||dark tan|
|Smell||foul smell||foul, pungent smell||foul, pungent smell|
|Taste||sour, slightly bitter||sour, slightly bitter||sour, slightly bitter|
3. Expired Sea moss has a “Sour” Smell
Some people claim that expired sea moss has a sour smell when it goes bad. This sour smell is often a pungent or foul smelling odor.
It is the classic smell many foods take on when they go bad. Have you ever smelled expired milk? The sour smell from expired milk is similar to the sour smell from expired sea moss.
4. Expired Sea moss may contain Green Mold
Green mold can be found growing on expired sea moss, especially in gel form. It is one of three types of mold: Aspergillus, Penicillum, or Cladosporium.
These are the most common green molds that grow on expired foods. The mold is often a dark or dull green color and might even grow in circles called “blooms.”
Look carefully at your sea moss for these types of mold, as they can be very small and hard to see when they first appear.
5. Expired Sea moss may have Fuzzy Mold
Another common type of mold is Botrytis blight. This mold has a fuzzy, gray appearance. This is the mold that is often found growing on various fruits and vegetables when they go bad.
When it first appears, it can be hard to see because of its light gray color. Carefully access your sea moss for signs of this mold, like discolored spots and fuzzy areas.
6. Expired Sea Moss have have a Slimy Coating
With sea moss gel, keep an eye on the top layer of the gel, in addition to analyzing the sides of the jar for mold and other changes.
The top layer of the jar can give you a clue as to whether or not your sea moss gel has expired. If it appears to have a grayish, watery look or a slimy coating on top, it is time to throw it out.
7. Expired Sea Moss Powder Changes
While powdered sea moss can last longer than other forms, it can still go bad. Look for changes in smell and mold.
Mold will only appear if the sea moss powder has been exposed to humid conditions or water at some point. The smell should be very mild, so if it becomes pungent or “off” it could be expired.
8. Expired Sea Moss Capsule Changes
Sea moss capsules might also develop a change in appearance and smell when they expire. Like powdered sea moss and dry raw sea moss, if they are exposed to humid conditions or water, they are very likely to develop mold (see types of mold listed above) and a foul, fishy, or sour odor.
9. Expired Dried Sea Moss Changes
Raw sea moss can last for a year if it is kept in the right conditions, but it can change in color, smell, and potency when if it is used beyond one year. Raw sea moss should have a dark tan, yet vibrant color.
Old sea moss may become paler, develop a sour odor, or greatly diminish in nutrition if used beyond one year.
- Real Vs Fake Sea Moss: 14 Ways to Tell Your Sea Moss is fake
- Can Sea moss make you sick? 14 Side Effects of Sea Moss to Watch Out for
- What is Sea Moss Good For?
- How to Make Sea moss Gel – Two Ways!
- How is Sea Moss Grown, Harvested and Processed? What You Need to Know
Even if your raw sea moss looks great beyond one year, sitting too long can affect the vitamins, minerals, and other substances in the sea moss that give it nourishing benefits.
If you ever took a cooking or nutrition class in high school, you may have heard your teacher say, “When it doubt, throw it out.” While this can be tough to do, it is much better than exposing yourself to the potentially unpleasant effects of consuming expired sea moss.
Make or purchase only what you need so you can use it in a timely way and avoid things going bad.
Have you had any experience with expired or spoiled sea moss? Let us know in the comments 🙂