I assume you are familiar with gelatin, am I right? Most individuals are familiar with gelatin and so fewer ones would only ask the question “ what is gelatin?”. However, for the benefits of these fewer people, here, I will discuss things about gelatin. So, continue reading to learn more.
What Is Gelatin?
Gelatin comes from collagen referred to as the soft protein which connects the bones, skin, muscles, and tendons. It is the stuff that also gets pumped to the faces for reducing wrinkles, puffing up the lips, and also giving the skin the same bounce.
Also, it is a clear and tasteless protein that is used in thickening or solidifying food products. It is considered an animal product, so it’s not vegan. But, there is more to learn about gelatin.
Where It Comes From And How It Is Made?
Again, gelatin is derived from the collagen that is found in the connective tissue, bones, and skin of the pigs as well as other animals. In some cases, collagen from fish bones is also used.
The said protein dissolves out of bone and the connective tissue once boiled in the water. This is what will happen if you make stock at home with bones. The collagen is being extracted into the stock, and it would set up once cooled.
And the gelatin that is used for culinary purposes is being purified and most primarily sold in sheets, powder, or granules.
So, How Is Gelatin Made?
Animal carcasses would arrive at processing plants right after they have gone to the slaughterhouse. The rotting parts are being discarded and also everything else is being chopped up, degreased, washed, and roasted for further drying the pieces out.
These animal pieces are being soaked in the strong acid solution for a number of days to release the minerals and bacteria.
The gelatin is being removed from the animal part as well as flash-heated for sterilization purposes. It is being pressed to sheets, dyed, and finally packaged.
How Is Gelatin Used?
Aside from knowing what is gelatin, there is a need for you to know how it is being used as well. This product is used to thicken certain puddings, gummy candies, yogurt, ice cream, fruit gelatin desserts, marshmallows, and more. And some baking recipes also call for this ingredient.
There is a need for it to be dissolved first in warm water before it should be added into a recipe. Right after dissolving in hot water, gelatin could then be mixed with any liquids or some semi-liquid mixtures.
In most grocery stores, a packet of gelatin would contain a quarter ounce or a tablespoon of the powder. This amount is enough to thicken two cups of liquid though you can use more to produce a more rigid product.
Once cooled, gelatin solidifies so there is a need for refrigeration. The grade and concentration of gelatin would identify the exact temp at which it melts and hardens. Most of the gelatin would provide a melting point near body temp offering a unique mouth-feel to the food it is used with.
Also, boiling gelatin could break down the structure and could ruin the solidifying properties. There are fruits like pineapple, papaya, and guava that contain enzymes that could also inhibit the ability of the gelatin to solidify.
And the canning process would also destroy the enzymes meaning canned versions of the fruits could be used successfully with gelatin.
Nutrition Facts About Gelatin
And of course, gelatin has a number of health benefits as well. Gelatin contains protein and two of the beneficial amino acids which are the proline and glycine.
The said amino acids that are found in parts of the animals that we don’t usually consume are known to be good for joint health and hair, skin, and nail growth.
On the other hand, glycine has these anti-inflammatory qualities and might also improve your sleep quality and ease.
You might buy natural and grass-fed gelatin which doesn’t contain any colors or additives. It is a translucent powder that is a quick substitute for bone broth.
Substitutes For Gelatin
So you love foods with gelatin, right? But if there is no available gelatin at all, what is the best alternative to consider?
Worry no more since there are plant-based alternatives you might choose like pectin, agar-agar, guar gum, and konjac.
These substitutes are the best options if you are not into eating pig ears or other unusual animal parts.
Wrapping It Up
I hope your question about what is gelatin is now answered by the relevant facts discussed above. Simply knowing its meaning isn’t enough rather you should dig more and so learn more about gelatin.
Knowing that it is also a common food item, being familiar about must never be ignored. To find out more about gelatin, watch this.
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