Agar agar is a plant based gelatin substitute that has been used in Asian recipes for centuries. As it is derived from the cell walls of varieties of red seaweed,it makes the perfect vegan alternative when recipes call for the use of gelatin. It can be substituted for gelatin on a 1:1 basis where gelatin is to be used as a thickening agent. Agar agar is tasteless and odorless and its use will not affect the overall taste or smell of any food prepared using it as a substitute for gelatin.
While agar agar is often described as a gelatinous substance and it is used in much the same way as gelatin, it is not the same thing as gelatin. The key difference is that gelatin is obtained from the collagen obtained from animal bones or skin whereas agar agar is obtained from seaweed making it an excellent vegetarian or vegan substitute for gelatin. The only other substantive difference is that gelatin can be dissolved in warm liquid and will set as it cools, whereas agar agar must be brought to the boil before setting can take place.
Agar agar has many healthy attributes. It is loaded with fibre, has no calories, no fat, no sugar and no carbohydrates. It is also gluten free, preservative free and wheat free.
It assists in absorbing glucose in the stomach, passes quickly through the digestive system and helps to prevent the body from storing excess fat. These properties deliver substantial benefits which are listed below.
As well as being vegan friendly, agar agar has some demonstrable health benefits that make its use an attractive proposition. These benefits include:
Being low in calories, fats, sugars and carbohydrates it has natural weight loss potential. It is also seen as something of an appetite suppressant. Agar agar is a key ingredient of a Japanese natural weight loss plan called the KAntan diet
Being rich in soluble fibre it acts as a natural laxative and helps to transport toxins out of the body
Has high concentrations of magnesium and calcium which contribute to better bone health
Contains galactose, commonly referred to as brain sugar. This substance is known to contribute to the brain development of children
Obviously agar agar works wonderfully well as a gelatin substitute and can be used in any recipe that calls for gelatin. A word of warning though, gelatin is much stronger than gelatin and one teaspoon is equivalent to about 8 teaspoons of gelatin - so factor that in to your recipes.
Aside from being a gelatin substitute, agar agar is used as a soup thickener, as an additive in fruit preserves and even in homemade ice cream recipes.
It can also be used for medicinal purposes as it is comprised of 80% fibre making it both an effective laxative and appetite suppressant.
You may be able to find agar agar in places such as Asian food stores, health food stores, some supermarkets that have health food sections and the occasional specialty food shop. However, to save you time and hassle, perhaps the best place to get Agar Agar is through the Buy Organics Online website.
If you’re looking for a reliable source of natural agar agar powder, there is no better place than the Buy Organics Online website. We have carefully sourced the best agar agar products available from trusted suppliers within the industry. You can choose your agar agar powder from the comfort of your home and make the switch away from gelatin. Buy your agar agar here today.