What Is Edible Gelatine And Where Does It Come From?

Cakes, puddings, meat pies – you often need edible gelatine for the preparation. But what exactly is that? What alternatives are there for a vegan diet – and how do you store edible gelatine properly? In the following text, you will find out where the firming ingredient comes from and why it is particularly suitable for sick food.

What is edible gelatine?

Gelatin is what gives strength, flexibility, and malleability. Where do you find these qualities? In yourself! Because skin, bones, cartilage, tendons – everything is full of so-called glue-giving substances. Classic hoofed animals are used for the production of edible gelatine. In the early peasant kitchens, pigs’ feet, calf’s heads, or rinds were therefore often cooked to obtain gelatine.

Commercially available edible gelatine usually comes from pigs or cattle. The following applies: the younger the animal, the higher the concentration of gelatine in parts containing glue. The parallel to humans can also be seen here: the elasticity of the joints decreases with age because the gelatine is broken down by the body over the years or not renewed sufficiently.

Recognize quality quickly

Do you like to buy organic products that are produced as gently as possible? When buying edible gelatine, pay attention to the following characteristics:

  • colorless
  • clear transparent leaves or ground and mixed powder
  • odorless


Characteristics for use

Edible gelatine swells in cold liquid and dissolves in hot products. The liquids will stiffen with the gelatin stirred in, as it binds the liquid when cold. Depending on how firm you want the substance to be, you may need to use more or less gelatin.

Edible gelatine depends on the ambient temperature when it hardens – in the summer months it can sometimes lose its strength more quickly because the combination of gelatine and liquid melts.

Tip: When storing in the kitchen cupboard, pay attention to the “neighbors” of your airtight gelatine jar! Because adhesives and plastics in kitchen furniture or disinfectants often contain formaldehyde compounds, which can lead to hardening of the gelatine and thus poorer solubility if stored for a long time.

Ways to use

Now you know where edible gelatine comes from. But what can you do with it? These are the most common areas of application:

  • Cake creams or cupcake topping
  • clear or milky puddings
  • sour meat and aspic
  • binding of soups and sauces
  • Preserving fruits and vegetables
  • Production of jam and other fruit spreads
  • Production of fruit gums

Kitchen bills:

  1. 1 level teaspoon of powdered gelatine corresponds to 1 leaf gelatine (2g).
  2. Less time = more edible gelatine! For quick results or in very hot ambient temperatures, the amount of gelatine given in the recipe can be increased by 1/4.

Bill for foodies:

  1. 1 liter of fall and cut-resistant jelly (Jello, jelly – depending on the region) requires 12 leaves or 12 teaspoons of gelatine.

Types of gelatin

In addition to synthetic products such as fixed products for impatient cooks, there are two basic substances to choose from. Common is ground, fine powder as powdered gelatine or pressed in sheet form. The processing is almost identical, apart from a few differences.

Using Gelatin: Instructions

Leaf of gelatine

  1. Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water for about 10 minutes
  2. Add the leaves to the water one at a time so they don’t stick together
  3. Then squeeze out carefully
  4. For cold masses, heat and dissolve the gelatine over low heat, then stir 1-2 tablespoons of the mass into the gelatine until smooth and allow to cool slightly, then stir into the remaining
  5. cream for hot masses, and add the gelatine directly to the hot but no longer boiling liquid, and dissolve while stirring
  6. Finally, fill the cream and let it set for several hours

Tip: Never just add the warm, dissolved gelatine to the cold mass. The heat would make the cream runny. By stirring some of the cold mass in the gelatine until smooth, you adjust the temperatures and you can then stir the gelatine into the mass.

Gelatin powder

  1. Mix the gelatine with 6 tablespoons of cold water and leave to swell for 5 minutes
  2. then put in a saucepan and dissolve while stirring over low heat
  3. For hot masses, dissolve the swollen gelatine directly in the mass
  4. For cold masses, stir 1-2 tablespoons of the mass into the gelatine until smooth and allow to cool slightly, then stir the gelatine into the rest of the mass
  5. Finally, fill the cream and let it set for several hours

Note: Some recipes, e.g. cake creams, do not need to be heated. Just follow the instructions in the recipe!

Alternatives to edible gelatine

Maybe you want to do without animal products or do not tolerate beef protein? Or is the processing of edible gelatine too complicated for you? These products are suitable as a substitute:

  • Agar Agar

Alternative made from dried red algae must be boiled. 1/2 teaspoon corresponds to 4 sheets of gelatine.

  • guar gum

Powdered seeds of the guar plant are suitable for cream dishes and ice cream. But be careful with sweets – sugar impairs the firming effect!

  • aspic

Can be bought already in ready-gelled cubes, due to its own taste it is only suitable for sour and salty dishes.

  • locust bean gum

The flour from the seeds of the carob tree is colorless and should be processed without boiling. 1 teaspoon of flour is enough for 200g of liquid. But watch out! Too much can have a laxative effect!

  • pectin

The calorie-free substance is obtained from the peels of oranges and lemons and is mainly used to make jam. In order to develop the effect, it must be fully boiled once. 1 kg of fruit requires 15 g of pectin. Incidentally, pectin is also contained in classic jam sugar.

  • sago or chia seeds

Both seeds swell by a third of their size but remain as little balls. This can be desired for fruit jelly, soups, or puddings.

Tip: You can always replace edible gelatine with alternatives – you just have to make sure that the alternative also fits the recipe!

Kitchen for the sick

Edible gelatine is a very wholesome and easily digestible form of binding food. People who have trouble eating solid foods or who need more nutritious meals can use it to regain strength faster. The edible gelatine has few nutrients, but a comparatively high content of vitamin C.

Gummy bears or pure gelatine powder are often recommended to people with joint diseases because they can help to support their health.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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