This is a very healthy, nourishing soup.
Iceland moss (Cetraria islandica) is very versatile. In spite of the name, it isn’t a moss at all, but a lichen. It’s used in cosmetics (especially creams and ointments), medicines and nutritional supplements (it is an excellent remedy for coughs and digestive problems), and as food. In the past it was also used for colouring wool.
Iceland moss also grows in other northern countries, but as it is very sensitive to pollution, it is not much harvested. It tastes very bitter when used in teas and infusions, but cooking it in milk, like in this recipe, removes most of the bitterness.
This soup is very nourishing and tasty. It is up to you if you choose to actually eat the moss or just use it as a flavouring (it gets a bit slimy when cooked). I sometimes get this at my grandmother’s. She also makes a cough syrup with Iceland moss, which tastes extremely bitter in spite of it being saturated with sugar, but it is the best cough remedy I have tried.
1-2 fistfuls Iceland moss
1 litre whole milk
2-3 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 litres whole milk
30-40 gr. Iceland moss
50 gr. sugar
Clean the lichens well (this includes picking off any remains of moss). Flush the lichens with cold water and chop them up. Bring the milk to the boil and add the lichens. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add salt and sugar and serve.