a vegetarian's gelatin
Also known by its Japanese name Kanten, Agar
or Agar Agar is derived from Gracilaria
(Gelidium species) a bright red sea vegetable with the botanical
name of Gleidium purpurascens. Agar due to its high gelling properties is
considered the queen of gelling agents.
An excellent gelling agent and thickener in many processed foods such as doughnuts, marmalade & jam, jelly candy, cheese, puddings, gelatin fruit desserts, meat
products, bakery fillings and icings, dry and canned soups and ice
Order Agar Agar
Agar is a polysaccharide found in the cell walls of some red algae and is unusual in containing sulfated galactose
monomers (gelling agents). It requires nothing but extraction from red algae and purification to become agar.
Agar added to liquids simply gels them into a convenient solid form.
It is used as a gelatin substitute for Jell-O® like desserts.
Agar will form gels at approximately 88F(35C) but once formed does not melt below
Natural agar agar is unflavored producing a firm, clear jelly and is rich in iodine and trace minerals and has mildly laxative properties.
The flakes are produced by a traditional method of cooking and pressing the sea vegetables and then naturally freeze-drying the residue to form bars which are then
powdered or flaked for easier packageing and transport.
Agar agar has stronger setting properties and, unlike gelatin which requires refrigeration to set, it will set at room temperature after about an hour - although it is advisable to store dishes gelled with agar agar in the fridge as it is a high protein food.
Flaked and powdered agar agar need to be used in different proportions due to
their variance in density, unfortunately many recipes do not specify which is being called for, but here are a few guidelines:
Powdered agar can be substituted for the same quantity of unflavored gelatin in
One teaspoon agar powder = One tablespoon agar flakes.
Typical usage level is 1/2 percent agar in water.
The gelling ability of agar agar is affected by the acidity or alkalinity of the ingredients it is mixed
with. More acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and strawberries, may require higher amounts of agar agar. Some ingredients will not set with it at all such as: kiwi fruit (too acidic), pineapple, fresh figs, paw paws,
papaya, mango and peaches, which contain enzymes which break down the gelling ability (although cooked fruit seems to lose this effect), chocolate and spinach.
Agar Agar Gel Recipe
For a firm jelly you require approximately 2 teaspoons of powder or 2 Tablespoons of flakes per 1 pint
( 600ml) of liquid.
Agar agar should be soaked in the liquid first for 10-15 minutes, then gently brought to
a boil and simmered while stirring until it dissolves completely, this will take about 5 minutes for powder and 10-15 minutes for flakes. Unlike
gelatin, agar agar can be boiled and can even be re-melted if necessary. If you are unsure as to the setting ability of your gel, test a small amount on a cold saucer - it should set in 20-30 seconds, if not you may need more agar agar, if too firm - add some more liquid.
Agar Stabilizer Recipes:
You will find the things made using agar will have a great taste, the meringue and whipping cream are wonderful....
Whipped Cream Recipe:
For cream toppings or fillings that will stay firm and will not separate merely add 2 Tablespoons of sifted confectioners sugar and 1 teaspoon of agar
powder to 1 cup of whipping cream that is almost whipped. Continue whipping until
stiff peaks form. You can add flavoring as desired.
Meringue Pie Topping Recipe:
3 Egg Whites...beat with 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tarter until soft peaks form. Gradually add 5 Tablespoons of sugar, beating until the sugar
dissolves. In a small bowl blend together 1 Tablespoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon
agar powder. Add 1 Tablespoons of boiling water to sugar and agar, stir mixture well. Add to beaten meringue mixture. Continue beating until mixture stands in stiff , glossy peaks. Do not
under beat. Spread on top of pie sealing to edge of pastry. Bake in 350 F oven 12 to 15 minutes or until meringue is brown.