Agar Agar And Pectin: Plant-Based Alternatives To Gelatin

For vegetarians and vegans

Of course, gummy bears contain gelatine. But also in cakes and desserts. So that you can feast as you please in the future, use pectin and other alternatives.

Gelatine is made from bones and skin, so it’s from a dead animal. Taboo for vegetarians and vegans. Does that mean you have to do without all those delicious cakes and tarts? On jam and desserts? No, you don’t have to! Agar agar, pectin, or locust bean gum – there are plenty of plant-based alternatives that work at least as well as gelatine.

What is gelatin? And how does it work?

Gelatine is obtained from the skin and bones of pigs and cattle. This ‘bone glue’ is processed into powder or thin sheets. This creates long elastic chains that dissolve when it is hot and contract when it is cold. Here you can see how easy it is to process gelatine and its alternatives.

Where is gelatine found everywhere?

Of course, gummy bears are made of gelatin – most of them at least. There are now many manufacturers who offer vegan alternatives. A cheese cream cake and a Bavarian cream too. But there are some foods that unexpectedly contain gelatin: licorice, cream cheese, pudding, cornflakes, fruit juice, wine, and vitamin capsules.

Vegetable gelling agents

Agar Agar
Agar agar has been used in Japan for several centuries. The most common form: is the fine powder. Agar-agar is made from dried red algae and is relatively more effective than gelatin. For comparison: 1 teaspoon of agar replaces 8 sheets of gelatine. The vegetable gelling agent is odorless, suitable for sweet and savory dishes, and can be used in a similar way to gelatine. The great thing is that agar doesn’t need any sugar, only heat to solidify liquids.

Pectin is made from the peels of apples, lemons, and other fruits. Every fruit has a different pectin content, and the effect of the individual types of fruit is different. If you want to make jam, you should take this advice into account. Pectin acts relatively quickly. The fruits only have to be boiled for a short time, and most of the vitamins are retained. Pectin is also ideal for gelling ice cream and cake glaze.

locust bean gum
The white, tasteless flour is a substitute for flour, starch, and egg yolk and binds sauces and soups. Locust bean gum does not have to be boiled again and is particularly popular as a binding agent for desserts. The herbal alternative is obtained from the seeds of the carob tree and has a laxative effect in large quantities. Caution!

You can get all vegetable gelling agents in health food stores and organic supermarkets.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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