After harvesting from natural stocks, female gametophytes of the red seaweed Chondrus crispus were cultured for several days under a light-deprived regime in order to determine if dark treatment can improve the gel quality of carrageenan extracted from the seaweed. An increase in the gel strength of native carrageenan was observed after dark treatment for 10d, but not after 5d, as compared to that of freshly harvested (baseline) seaweed. Corresponding decrease in sulfate and increase in 3,6-anhydrogalactose (3,6-AG) contents of the carrageenan extract were also observed. We posit that during dark treatment, the production of sulfated carrageenan precursor units was prevented while the enzymatic conversion of the prevailing precursor units to the gelation-promoting 3,6-AG was allowed to proceed. The observed increase in carrageenan gel strength with a 10-d dark treatment was comparable to the effect of the widely-used industrial procedure of alkali treatment in improving the extract's gel quality. Hence, postharvest culture in the dark for 10d can be an eco-friendly alternative to alkali treatment.