Agar-agar is a gelling agent of vegetable origin that is obtained from red algae, with incredible properties and benefits and with wonderful uses in the kitchen. We discover more about him.
The agar is a gelling agent is extracted from the red algae, which belongs to the family of “Rhodophytae” and is derived from the cell wall of this type of algae, is therefore a vegetable gelling.
The origin or discovery of agar-agar is still unknown in a reliable way since there are several versions about its discovery and history, however, something that is quite clear is that history places the invention of agar-agar in Japan, to the point that this product is indispensable in this country.
However, in Europe it was little known until not long ago, being today a highly required product and used in different areas such as, in private or home cooking to prepare numerous recipes for both food and desserts, in haute cuisine on everything in molecular cuisine, and also in the world of cosmetics.
In the world of cosmetics, it is part of the production of moisturizers, make-up removers, firming creams, slimming creams, and massage oils.
Agar-agar is considered one of the most powerful gelling agents since its gelling power is up to 8 times higher than gelatin of animal origin.
As it is a gelling agent of vegetable origin, it is a good resource for vegetarians, also for people who carry out weight loss diets since it contains very few nutrients and few calories.
Know the properties and benefits of agar-agar
As we have said previously, it contains very few nutritional substances, however it is rich in soluble fibers which facilitate the proper functioning of intestinal transit.
Also the soluble fibers that it contains when it comes into contact with liquids makes them increase in volume in the stomach, which provides the sensation of satiety, for that reason agar-agar comes in very handy in weight loss regimes.
Agar-agar acts as a slight laxative, and it is recommended that its consumption in the case of weight loss diets does not exceed more than 3 grams of agar-agar.
Another of the beneficial properties of agar-agar is that the soluble fibers it contains help reduce bad cholesterol because they act by trapping both fats and fast sugars from food.
Agar-agar is a food additive, specifically it is the additive with the reference E-406, it has an insipid taste, as it does not provide any flavor it is widely used to gel and stabilize bakery products, pastries, ice cream parlors as well as yogurt.
The uses of agar-agar in the kitchen
To achieve the gelling effect of agar-agar, it is enough to include it and mix it in any preparation that is more or less liquid and cold, boil it for two minutes, and then let it cool. Agar-agar is used both in haute cuisine and in private or home cooking.
In haute cuisine, it is used in molecular cuisine to make light foams with a siphon, also to make spheres, pearls, and in endless recipes with ideas that we can consider as novel.
In the home kitchen, agar-agar is used to thicken sauces, for jellies, to make vegetable terrines, in meat and fish recipes, to curdle puddings, to prepare light mousses, with natural fruit, yogurts, fresh cheese.
And where can we get agar-agar?
We can get agar-agar in natural product stores such as herbalists, parapharmacies, pharmacies, Asian product stores, online natural product stores.
The ways in which we can find agar-agar for cooking are; in white filaments grouped into skeins, in powder or flakes.
We can also get it in the form of capsules or tablets, in these cases recommended to promote good intestinal transit.
We must take into account when buying it to look at its color and check that it is the appropriate color of the agar-agar that should be beige, if perhaps we see it white, this supposes that it has been subjected to a chemical process.
When it comes to keeping it, we must protect it from both light and moisture, and provide it with a dry and dark place.