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Carageen Moss is commonly used as a thickener and stabiliser in milk products such as ice cream and processed foods. It may also be used as a thickener in calico-printing, as a size in printing and marbling paper and for fining beer or wine. We also sell the derivative Carageenan which is easier to prepare.

Also known as Irish Moss, it grows in great abundance off the coast of Eire and as far north as the Faroe Islands and Iceland, warmed by the Gulf  Stream.  Marbling is a craft which goes back as early as the 12th Century, the use of carageen as a food and a medicine is much, much older.

It is possible to use 45-50 different kinds of material to obtain a concentrated and adhesive liquid for marbling. Most commonly used are the Carrageenan (made from Carageen Moss) and Gum Tragacanth, both of which we sell at The PaintBox.

Tragacanth is a type of natural gum resin with weak adhesive property, found on the trunks of various Astragalus species of Anatolia. It is used in medicine, cosmetics, and textile sectors. Carrageenan, on the other hand, is a type of seaweed, found mainly in northern European seas. Its spores are used for the size we use.

Preparation of Tragacanth is rather difficult and time-consuming compared to Carrageenan. Depending on the quality and the type of material, a Tragacanth solution needs about 5-7 days of mixing and resting. Carrageenan gives good results after only one day`s rest. It can be ready for use even in a few hours. In that case, the solution must be cleaned off of any bubbles and foam. Both solutions must be filtered before use and the consistency of the liquid must be set by adding water if necessary.

After marbling became widespread throughout Europe, Carrageenan was prefered over Tragacanth in Turkey as well. Other materials of choice may be flaxseed, saleb (orchid extract), quince seed, Fenugreek seeds, starch etc. The results of each differ in the quality.


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