Gelatin is a gel type substance that is derived from the natural proteins present in animal’s skin, tissues and bones. This product does not have any taste, odor and color. It is basically a translucent substance and appears brittle when dry. In some Commonwealth countries, this gel is spelled as ‘gelatine’ and the substances comprises of it are typically labeled as gelatinous. Many gelatin recipes are famous in culinary world that contains this gelling agent. Some of them are marshmallows, jellies and gummy candies.
History of Gelatine
Gelatin is the word that is derived from the word French ‘gelatine’ that means and edible jelly. Though the exact origin of this jelly is still unknown, but in 1682, John Evelyn had described in his dairy about a jelly made up of beef bones.
It is believed that its first commercial had been started in Holland in the year 1685 and after that production had also started in England and USA in 1700’s and 1800’s respectively.
Culinary Use of Gelatine
Gelatin is mainly used as a gelling and thickening agent. It also acts as an excellent stabilizer. It is available in various forms and grades that are incorporated in various food items. Some of the commonly held gelatinous products are desserts, candies and many other confectioneries. Aspic is one of the most unique gelatinous food stuff. It is a kind of gel like substance that is used to set all the ingredients in a jelly made up of meat stock. Aspic is basically a kind of cold salad. Various types of jams, yogurts and ice creams make good use of this popular thickening agent.
The best advantage of gelatin in food production is that it can be used as a fat substitute. In low-fat yogurts and margarines, it is fondly added to give a feel of fat and also to increase the volume of the foodstuff without including huge calories. It is even used as a clarification agent in apple juice and vinegar.
Popular Gelatin Recipes
• Apple-cranberry jelly – This fruit flavored jelly has any variations and it can be used either as a desserts topping or as a dessert itself.
• Frozen fruit salad – This delicious fruit salad has a gelatinous base that also includes fresh fruits with cream cheese and fresh cream.
• Lychee sherbet – Gelatin is used as a thickening agent in this fresh lychee sherbet. Other fruits such as peach or mango can be used in lack of lychee.
Cuisines Commonly Preparing Gelatin Recipes
Gelatin is widely used in desserts made in American, English and European cuisines. Jams, jellies, yogurts and margarines typically make use of it as an ingredient stabilizer and also as a thickening agent.
Aspic is one of the most popular gelatinous products that was first introduced in American cuisine. Now it is popular in other cuisines as well. Few sections of society in Indian, Jewish and Pakistani cultures prohibit the use of gelatinous products as they contain animal fats.
Methods of Making Gelatin Recipes
• Frozen – Gelatin desserts and many other products such as yogurts, fruit salads as well as jellies are frozen for better texture.
• Mixed – This gelling agent is usually mixed in either powdered form or in liquid form to many gelatinous products.
Nutritive Value of Gelatine
• Gelatin is obviously a source of protein, but not an excellent source as compared to other protein sources.
• It is widely used for medicinal purposes owing to its some strengthening and pain relieving properties.
• The peptides found in it are helpful in decreasing the stomach ulcers.
• It is highly effective in providing relief from the pain and stiffness in knee joints.
• Due to high amounts of protein, gelatine is effective in strengthening human hair and nails.
Consumption Criteria of Gelatin Recipes
As gelatin is an animal extract and it is prohibited in many food cultures, hence gelatinous products should not be consumed without prior information. Gelatinous raw products should also be examined properly for proper hygiene and suitability for human consumption owing to the fact that animal fat is involved in the production.
Buying and Storing of Gelatin
Gelatin is typically sold in dry form. It can be purchased from any grocery store. As it contains animal fat, it should be checked for expiry date prior to buying.
This product can easily be stored in room temperature. For extended shelf life, store it in refrigerator. Dishes made up of gelatin should be frozen.
Types of Gelatine
• Isinglass – This is a gelatinous substance obtained from the fins of the certain fishes. In cooking, this variety is now rarely used.
• Carrageen – Also called ‘Irish moss’, this thickening agent is produced by the seaweed found at the coasts of Ireland.
• Agar-agar – It is a kind of setting agent that is a great substitute in gelatin recipes. It is available either in dried powder form or as strands.
• Pectin – This substance is naturally present in fruits and vegetables. Basically, this variety is used in making jams and jellies.
Non-food Uses of Gelatine
It is widely used in cosmetics such as in few creams as well as in nail polish removers. Doctors also use gelatin as bone fillers. It’s one more unique use is that it can be used in hair styling gels.
Gelatin Recipes: Trivia
• Jell- O, a gelatin based product, is regarded official snack food of an US state called ‘Utah’.