Agar Agar (thickener)
What is Agar Agar:
- Agar Agar is a sea vegetable used in Asia for molded-jellies.
- It is available flaked or ground. Flaked and ground are not raw and have to be dissolved in very hot water prior to using in a recipe.
How to use it:
- Agar Agar is an excellent replacement for gelatin, which is derived from animal hooves. But don’t expect the same results when replacing gelatin with agar in a recipe. It won’t give the same texture. Agar gives a firmer texture. Plus it is much more powerful than gelatin : 1 teaspoon agar powder is equivalent to 8 teaspoon gelatin powder.
- Agar has no taste, no odor and no color. It sets more firmly than gelatin, and stays firm even when the temperature heats up. The melting point is around 185 degrees (F).
- Agar is the perfect substitute to traditional gelatin. It’s made from a plant source rather than from an animal one. That makes it suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets, and other diet restrictions.
- Agar Agar can be very firm on its own. Combining it with other thickeners such as lecithin and / or Irish moss can make it more delicate.
- Acidic foods (such as lemon or pineapple juice) can interfere with the gelling of Agar Agar so you may need to increase its volume.
- The most important thing to know is that agar needs to be first dissolved in hot / boiling water or another liquid. It sets as the ingredients cool down.
- It is a good source of calcium and iron, and is very high in fiber.
- It doesn’t contain sugar, fat or carbohydrates.
- It is known for its ability to aid in digestion as well as carrying out toxic waste out of the body.
- It is also known to have the ability to reduce inflammation, calm the liver, and bring relief to the lungs.
- Agar is a rich source of water-soluble, indigestible fiber. In the digestive tract, it absorbs water, increases bulk, and stimulates large bowel muscle contractions. Agar’s most common therapeutic use has been as a laxative, and it has been used for decades as a daily treatment for chronic constipation.
- For more information you can read about it at the WellnessTimes site.
Formula to gel 2 cups of liquid using agar agar powder:
- 1 tsp agar agar powder
- 1 cup liquid
- Soak in 1 cup of liquid for several minutes and then simmer for a couple of minutes until it dissolves.
- Put the agar agar powder into 1/2 cup of cold water to form a thick heavy paste, then add it to 1/2 cup of hot water and cook, whisking constantly, until it forms a light syrup. Cool slightly, and add to other ingredients (up to 1 more cup of liquid or soft food)
Formula to gel 2 cups of liquid using agar agar flakes:
- 2 Tbsp agar agar flakes.
- 1 cup of liquid
- Soak in one cup of liquid for several minutes and then simmer for 5 minutes until it dissolves.
- Cool, add to other ingredients (up to 1 more cup of liquid.)