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Alternatives to Animal Gelatin

July 28, 2017

 

What is animal gelatin ?

On an industrial scale, gelatin is made from by-products of the leather and meat industry, mainly bones and remains of pigs and cattle.
The seals and the sharks are also excellent sources of collagen.
The use of skins and bones of pigs presents a problem for law-abiding Muslims in the rules imposed by Islamic law. It is also important to note that even when the raw materials come from permitted animals (notably cattle), Muslims must ensure that these animals have been slaughtered according to Islamic rules, otherwise many Muslims do not consider Halal products (for example gelatin) originating from these animals.

The use of gelatin

Gelatin is used to thicken puddings, yogurt, gummy candies, fruit gelatin desserts, ice cream, marshmallows, and more. Gelatin must first be dissolved in warm water before adding to a recipe. After dissolving in water, gelatin can then be mixed into any number of liquids or semi-solid mixtures.

 

Alternatives to animal gelatin

There are different alternatives to animal gelatin:

– The agar- agar: vegetable gelling extract of algae. Originating from Japan, the kanten or agar-agar is obtained from the dehydration of several types of red algae (latin name Gelidium, from the floridae family). It can be identified by the E406 code in ingredient lists. It has almost no taste or color. This is a binding and gelling vegetable perfect for replacing the animal gelatin. There are multiple recipes in which the agar-agar can be used: jams, fruit jellies, puddings…

– Carrageenan(or carrageenan) is a polysaccharide (galactan) extract of red algae for usage as a thickener, gelling agent, emulsifier and stabilizer in the food industry. It has the E407 code in the classification of food additives. Carrageenan helps to form gels on hot temperature (up to 60°C) and therefore are of interest compared to the traditional animal gelatin. It is a powerful gelling agent (a single teaspoon can jellify more than a liter of water…).

– Pectin (E440 in the classification of food additives), or more broadly the pectin substances are polyosides, attached to the carbohydrate. These are substances exclusively of vegetable origin. Pectin is present in large quantities in gooseberries, apples, quinces and citrus seeds and zest. Pectin is used as a thickener, stabilizer, gelling agent, and emulsifier.

– Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide (consisting of a combination of four compounds: the glucose, the mannose, the glucuronic acid and the pyruvic acid) obtained from the action of a bacterium, Xanthomonas campestris. It is soluble cold and is used as a food additive under the code E415 for its properties of thickening, stabilizing, foaming and gelling.

– Cellulose gum (E466 in the classification of food additives) occurs as granular or fibrous powder, white or slightly yellowish or grayish, slightly hygroscopic, odorless and tasteless.