Agar-agar: Interesting facts about the gelling agent

Agar Agar
Interesting facts about the herbal gelling agent

© Maria Medvedeva / Shutterstock

Agar-agar is a vegetable gelling agent that is suitable for sweet and savory dishes. You can find out how to use the gelling agent and what advantages the product has here!

Agar-agar: what is it?

  • Agar or “agar-agar” is a gelling agent that is obtained from algae and is therefore purely vegetable.
  • It is tasteless and commercially available as powder or flakes.
  • If the gelling agent is contained in processed foods, it is listed as E 406 among the ingredients.

Agar-agar: usage

The herbal gelling agent will Used for thickening soups and gelling sweets such as ice cream, cakes, panna cotta, mousse, jam or jelly. Of course it can too in savory dishes such as jellies or spreads.

Agar-agar cannot be used interchangeably with gelatine: The Gelling power is six to ten times. The use of agar therefore requires some practice. In addition, the natural product always behaves a little differently – depending on which type of liquid you want to gel. Fat and acid, for example, affect the binding capacity, whereas fruits with a high pectin content increase the gelling capacity of the agent.

Agar-agar: application

The herbal gelling agent must dissolved in a boiling liquid and only shows its gelling effect when it cools down. To test whether enough agar has already been stirred into the boiling liquid, you can use a Gel test do:

  1. To do this, put a plate in the freezer and take it out again after a few minutes.
  2. Now put some of the liquid (mixed with the agar) on the plate and wait two to three minutes. The mass should now be gelled.
  3. If the mass does not seem firm enough, stir in a little more agar, boil the mass again and then let it cool down. On the other hand, a mass that is too firm can be softened with additional liquid.

Agar-agar: origin and manufacture

  • Agar has been known in Japan since the 17th century. The word “agar” comes from Indonesian and Malay. Nowadays the production amounts to East Asia as well as New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
  • Will agar Obtained from seaweedgrown in aquaculture. For this, the algae (mostly red algae) are dried. The carbohydrates are then removed from the cell walls with hot water and brought into powder form.
  • When purchasing the gelling agent, you should only use organic products, because the quality of the algae and the water is taken care of here.

Agar: the advantages over gelatin

Gelatine is obtained from the cartilage, connective tissue and bones of pigs and cattle. Any product that contains gelatine is therefore not vegetarian! In vegan and vegetarian cuisine, agar agar is used in a variety of ways because it is a Alternative to animal gelatine represents.

Is Agar Healthy?

  • Agar is harmless and even scores with a high protein content and can also come up with B vitamins, vitamin K and beta-carotene.
  • However, if you ingest too much of the herbal product, this can have a laxative effect – but usually only if more than 4 grams are ingested per day. In comparison: A piece of cake with agar contains about 1 gram of the gelling agent.

Are you interested in the vegan lifestyle? Then here are 5 reasons to be vegan. Here you can find out everything about seitan and jackfruit. And here we have put together vegan recipes for you.


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