Is moss edible? Moss is a type of plant that grows on rocks, trees, and other types of surfaces. It has been used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to treat various illnesses such as a fever or pain relief.
In addition to its medicinal properties is moss edible? Yes! absolutely, in fact, there are several edible mosses like Oakmoss, Reindeer Moss, Iceland Moss, Spanish Moss, and Kalpasi Moss.
Mosses that are safe to eat are called lichens. Lichen can be eaten raw, boiled or fried with butter and salt. There are some mosses that have been shown to contain high levels of nutrients such as Vitamin B12, K, potassium and copper.
The majority of moss it’s not harmful at all but there are some exceptions and some types that can be slightly toxic or even poisonous, so you should be aware of them before snacking on this green delicacy!
A study was conducted at Oregon State University where they discovered that eating moss could increase your intake of zinc which helps maintain the immune system and promotes healthy digestion.
DISCLAIMER: We are not a doctor or a nutritionist, and although the information in this article is intended to be educational it should not be taken as medical or nutritional advice!
5 Types Of Moss That Are Edible?
Although some mosses are not edible, there are many different types that can be consumed, including oakmoss, Reinder moss, Iceland moss, Spanish moss, and Kalpasi moss.
The nutritional value of these tasty plants ranges from high to low, depending on the type and how it was prepared.
Moss has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb, food source, fertilizer for other plants, and even to get fires started. Some for the examples of moss that is edible are listed below.
Oakmoss: is an edible moss that grows on trees which makes harvesting them really easy! It’s packed with nutrition and can be used in a variety of dishes as a garnish much like parsley.
Reindeer Moss: is an edible type of moss that can be found in the northern regions, and is often eaten raw or added to salads. It has a lot more nutrients than other types making it perfect for eating as soup stock.
Iceland Moss: is another species of moss that is edible for humans to consume when identified and prepared properly. This moss is usually located in cold climates and can be used in salads and other foods as a garnish.
Spanish Moss: is edible however, some of the plants are not so some work is required to find the best parts. The moss itself has antibiotic properties and can help with sleep when eaten.
Kalpasi Moss: is a type of moss that grows in Kerala, India. It is consumed in dishes as an ingredient or garnish that are usually eaten with rice and sambar for breakfast or lunch.
Moss is often overlooked as an edible plant when in fact it can provide much-needed nutrition for humans and animals alike! and as you’ve just seen there are many different types of moss each with their own nutritional value.
Even to this day, moss is still being studied for its health benefits, and just recently scientists have discovered a new complex carbohydrate in moss here’s a quote taken from their website below.
An international team of scientists including the University of Adelaide has discovered a new complex carbohydrate in moss that could possibly be exploited for health or other uses.Sciencedaily.com
What Does It Taste Like?
The taste of moss depends on what kind of moss you eat, with that said, your first thoughts would be that it tends to taste very bitter, yet there are some types that are like salty seaweed.
While other types of moss can be sour and even sweet. But again this comes down to the type of moss you have, however you can also fry up some fresh moss to make a tasty meal out of it or just add in a salad.
How Prepare Moss so its Edible?
The Oak moss is a lichen that grows on the bark of oak trees, it has been used for centuries as medicine. Although nowadays there are not many people who use this to heal ills, because most doctors say its more effective in perfume and other industries.
If you search around Google or even Youtube then you’ll probably find lots of sites promoting essential oils with added essences from these unique plants which can do wonders for your health!
The truth is after boiling down some pieces several times they’re considered safe enough to eat (although only edible when boiled). Once you have boiled it you can then fry it with olive oil and spices for flavor.
There are two ways to consume Reindeer Moss: boiling or raw; however both methods will result in unpleasant tasting moss due to its high concentration of acids.
Those who have tried it claim that boiled moss tastes like bad breath mixed with saltwater while those who eat it fresh say they taste acidy vomit combined with salted mud.
Reindeer Moss is not something you would want as part of your diet unless absolutely necessary, but if you’re feeling daring it’s always an option!
However, you can mix up your moss making it more flavourful. You can do this by mixing in berries or fish eggs with the moss as a way of adding flavor variety for yourself (or just because you want to make boring old food taste more interesting.
When it comes to Iceland moss you can safely eat them in small quantities but if eaten frequently enough there is a chance that they may make you sick.
This moss is more for natural medicine, when the acids in it are extracted, they can be dissolved into alcohol to help remedy chest or stomach ailments like constipation.
The Spanish moss is another plant that looks like moss, but it can’t be eaten as it will upset your stomach due to its acidity. The best way to consume this Spanish moss would be to make it into a tea.
In fact, these teas have been used for millennia by ancient civilizations and cultures around the world because they have properties that are good against rheumatism or even diabetes.
There are a few steps to make this tea. First, steep the plant in boiling water and then add some sugar. You’ll find that Spanish moss has an earthy flavor that complements nicely with the sweetness of iced tea sweetener or honey (optional).
Kalpasi is a lichen that has been used for centuries medicinally and as a spice. it primarily grows on rocks like limestone or marble. The Kalapsi mainly provides relief from pain but also improves digestion while healing urinary tract infection.
There are antibacterial properties to the plant which makes it useful when treating wounds!
The flavor of Kalpasi is derived when boiling it, then cooking in oil with some salt. It’s mainly used as an exotic spice mix to season other Indian dishes like spicey Currys.
Just remember to be aware of some of the mosses and lichens you eat. They may be edible, but the identification process can be tricky for amateurs to identify correctly, so eating them raw or not preparing them could make you sick!
If its your first time picking moss for eating we would suggest taking time to practice identifying which is the right one for eating and then take some home, prepare it, and eat only small amounts so as not risk any reactions.