How To Replace Gelatin With “Agar Agar”

Jun 8, 2010 - by Trevor Justice (admin)

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TJ headshot 125by200Gelatin comes from animal bones. So as a vegetarian, how can you thicken recipes that call for gelatin?

Here’s an excerpt from The Vegan / Vegetarian Mastery Program explaining how…

You can do it with Agar agar, a flavorless gelling agent derived from cooked and pressed seaweed. It’s available flaked, powdered, or in bars. For best results, grind agar-agar in a coffee grinder or food processor and then cook it, stirring it regularly until it dissolves.

When used in a recipe, agar-agar sets in about an hour and doesn’t require refrigeration to gel. For a firmer gel, add more agar-agar, and for a softer gel, add more liquid.

And don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time. You can fix a faux pas simply by reheating the gel. Here’s a general guide on how to use agar in recipes:

# Substitute powdered agar-agar for gelatin using equal amounts.

# 1 Tbsp. of agar-agar flakes is equal to 1 tsp. of agar-agar powder.

# Set 2 cups of liquid using 2 tsp. of agar-agar powder, 2 Tbsp. of agar-agar flakes, or one bar.

# Keep in mind that highly acidic ingredients, such as lemons, strawberries, oranges, and other citrus fruits, may require more agar-agar than the recipe calls for. Also, enzymes in fresh mangoes, papaya, kiwi, and pineapple break down the gelling ability of the agar-agar so that it will not set. Cooking these fruits before adding them to a recipe, however, neutralizes the enzymes so that the agar-agar can set.

Here’s an example of a recipe that demonstrates its thickening quality:

Jellied Fruit Jewels - by Jill Nussinow

Makes 4

This is a great vegetarian way to make gels. It works differently with different fruit and juices. As mentioned above, Agar agar does not set well with mangoes, papaya, kiwi, or pineapple.

1 pint apple or other juice

1 teaspoon powdered agar agar or ¾ of a bar

Juice of ½ lemon

2  Tablespoons agave, honey or other sweetener

1  cup fruit, cut into chunks (my favorites are berries or banana)

Dissolve the agar in apple juice by bringing the apple juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in the agar and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring well so that the agar doesn’t stick on the bottom of the pan.

Add the lemon juice and honey and cook another minute. Remove from heat. Put fruit into 4 glasses and pour juice mixture over fruit. Chill until set

©2010, Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, The Veggie Queen(TM)

Tags: Acidic Ingredients, Agar Agar Flakes, Animal Bones, Apple Juice, Chunks, Citrus Fruits, Coffee Grinder, Cup Fruit, Enzymes, Food Processor, Fresh Mangoes, Gelatin, Gelling Agent, Kiwi, Lemons, Mastery Program, Pineapple, Seaweed, Sweetener, Tbsp, Tsp, Vegetarians

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