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What Is a Gelatin?

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Gelatin is a natural polymer that is made from the hydrolytic degradation of proteins. It is a translucent, colorless, and flavorless food additive that is derived from collagen taken from animal parts. It is brittle when dry and rubbery when moist. It is often used as a gelling agent. The gelatin comes in powder, granules, and sheets and can be dissolved in water before use. Gelatin contains 98–99% protein when it is dry.[1] [2]

Gelatin absorbs 5–10 times its weight in water to form a gel.[2]

The upper melting point of gelatin is below human body temperature.[3]

red jelly candy

Gelatin Types

Sheets

The gelatin sheets are made from gelatin that is dried in sheet form. As a result, sheets produce a clearer, more transparent final product than powders. They are preferred by professional chefs because they dissolve slowly and produce a more pure taste.

Gelatin sheet

Powder

Gelatin powder is gelatin that has been dried and broken up into small grains.

gelatin powder on a wooden bowl

What Is Gelatin Bloom?

A gelatin’s most valuable property is its gel strength, also known as its “bloom”. This property, which is also related to viscosity, is essential for the food industry since it is a helpful indicator of gel behavior. Typically, blooms range from 50 to 300 in strength. Various strengths of gel are used for different applications. Gelatins with bloom ranging from 125 to 250 are common for confectionery products. The following table lists bloom strength and their commercial names. [4]

In general, the greater a bloom value, the higher its melting and gelling points, and the shorter its gelling time.[6]

NameBloom Strength
Titanium120+ Bloom
Bronze140+ Bloom
Silver160+ Bloom
Gold200+ Bloom
Platinum230+ Bloom

Is There a Gelatin For Vegan?

Vegans and vegetarians do not consume gelatin derived from animals. Gelatin alternatives are available that offer similar gelling properties. Agar and carrageenan from seaweed can be used as substitutes for animal gelatins, and pectin and konjac from plants can be used as alternatives to animal gelatins.

Functional Properties Of Gelatin

Due to its high protein and amino acid content, gelatin is widely used in food additives and healthy foods. It is used in confectionery (which provides chewiness, texture, and foam stabilization), desserts (which provides creaminess, fat reduction, and mouth feeling), dairy products (which provide texturization), meat products (which provide water-binding), and hydrolyzed gelatin applications. The following table gives a variety of examples.[5][7]

Functionexample
Gel FormerGelled Desserts, Confectionery
Whipping AgentMarshmallows, Mousses, Whipped Cream
Binding AgentConfectionery, Cheeses, Dairy Products
Clarifying AgentFruit Juices
Film FormerCoating For Fruits
ThickenerSauces, Soups, Jellies, Dairy Products
EmulsifierWhipped Cream, Confectionery, Dairy Products
StabilizerCream Cheese, Chocolate Milk, Yogurt
Gel FormerGelled Desserts, Confectionery
Gel FormerGelled Desserts, Confectionery

How To Store Gelatin?

Gelatin must be stored in a cool, dry location. It must not be exposed to moisture. Gelatin lasts forever when properly stored. Gelatin-based products should be refrigerated as heat will cause them to break down.

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References

  1. Potter, N.N. and J.H. Hotchkiss. (1998). Food Science (5th ed.).
  2. Budavari, S. (1996). Merck Index, (12th ed.).
  3. Francis, Frederick J., ed. (2000). “Gelatin”Encyclopedia of Food Science and Technology (2nd ed.).
  4. Wittich, William John. New Automated Industrial Technologies for Improving Chemical Penetration 2005.
  5. Gmia. Gelatin Handbook. Gelatin Manufacturers Institute Of America.
  6. R. Schrieber, Dr. H. Gareis “Gelatine Handbook: Theory and Industrial Practice“. 23 February 2007.
  7. A. Mariod, H. Fadul.”Review: Gelatin, source, extraction and industrial applications“. June 2013.

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