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Alternative gelling agents Herbal binding and gelling agents: agar agar and pectin

Instant noodle | Wikipedia audio article (April 2019).


Herbal Gelling Agent Agar Agar and Pectin are perfect for calorie-free and vegan gelling of desserts and jams.

Gelling agents are food additives. They bind water and give many foods such as sauces, desserts or jams a firm or creamy consistency. As a conventional gelling agent, animal gelatin is often used. However, the trend is moving away from animal products made of hides and bones to alternative, herbal remedies. In particular, these two are the agar agar and pectin.

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Agar Agar

Agar Agar is a vegetable gelling agent derived from dried sea algae. When first opened, it can therefore easily smell of sea water - but the smell vanishes after a short time. Agar Agar is labeled on foods as E-406.

It is suitable for tying desserts, cake or pouring jam. It is available in the form of powder, flakes, rods or leaves. Dessert with kiwi or pineapple can even be bound exclusively with agar agar, as specific enzymes in the fruit dissolve other gelling agents.

Agar Agar is rich in fiber, minerals and iron. In addition, it is almost calorie-free, tasteless and requires no sugar to gel.

Rule of thumb for the dosage

1 tsp for 750 ml of liquid

¾ tsp for 500 ml of liquid

¼ tsp for 200 ml of fluid


Pectin usually consists of dried apple pomace and lemon. It is also available in pure form as apple pectin in powder or liquid form. In foods, pectin is labeled E440a or E440b. It is ideal for jam, jelly or ice cream to gel. Pectin is as low in calories and high in fiber as Agar Agar, promotes satiety and stimulates intestinal activity positively.

The rule for jam jellies is that 15g of pectin powder binds about one kilogram of fruit. For quinces, apples or blackcurrants, a little less pectin should be used. The sweetness can be determined with the addition of sugar, fruit syrup or honey itself.

The fruits need not be pre-cooked for the preparation of jam. The gelling process begins quite quickly with herbal remedies.

Agar agar and pectin are only usable when hot. In addition, always pay attention to the durability of the gelling agent, as the binding capacity of expired products can quickly subside.

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