What is gelatin/gelatine?
If you’ve ever eaten in a cafeteria, chances are good that your dessert options included Jell-O. There are hundreds of different desserts that use Jell-O to create everything from your basic institutional-style gelatin square to ornate designs that incorporate varied Jell-O flavors, fruit, and whipped toppings. Jell-O consists of four basic ingredients:
3. sugar or artificial sweetener and artificial flavors
4. food coloring
The gelatin in Jell-O is what lets you transform it into all sorts of different shapes. What exactly is gelatin? Gelatin is just a processed version of a structural protein called collagen that is found in many animals, including humans. Collagen actually makes up almost a third of all the protein in the human body. It is a big, fibrous molecule that makes skin, bones, and tendons both strong and somewhat elastic. As you get older, your body makes less collagen, and individual collagen fibers become crosslinked with each other. You might experience this as stiff joints (from less flexible tendons) or wrinkles (from loss of skin elasticity).
Gelatin (US spelling) or gelatine (British spelling) (used to make Jell-o and other desserts) is made from the boiled bones, skins and tendons of animals. An alternative substance is called Agar-Agar, which is derived from seaweed. Another is made from the root of the Kuzu. Agar-Agar is sold in noodle-like strands, in powdered form, or in long blocks, and is usually white-ish in color.
It was popularized in the Victorian era with spectacular and complex “jelly moulds”. Gelatin was sold in sheets and had to be purified, which was very time-consuming. It also made gelatin desserts the province of the relatively well-to-do. In 1845, industrialist Peter Cooper (who built the first American steam-powered locomotive, the Tom Thumb), obtained a patent (US Patent 4084) for powdered gelatin.
Where can you find gelatin?
Gelatin is a common ingredient in foods because it is so versatile. It can be used as a gelling agent (as in Jell-O), as a thickener, an emulsifier, and a stabilizer. You’ll find it in a variety of foods, from yogurt to chewing gum. Here is a list of some other foods that commonly contain gelatin:
* gummy bears
* sour cream
* cream cheese
* cake icing and frosting
* soups, sauces and gravies
* canned ham and chicken
* corned beef
What is kosher gelatine?
Some Kosher gelatins are made with agar-agar, most are not. Some things that are vegan that are replacing gelatin are: guar gum and carrageenan. Only some ‘emulsifiers’ are vegan. Gelatin is used in photography. Although the technology exists to replace photographic film, its price is currently prohibitive and there is insufficient demand. Hopefully, with the growth of vegetarianism and veganism, this situation will soon change.
Kosher gelatin can be made with fish bones, and/or beef skins. Contrary to assumptions, it is also considered kosher to use it with dairy products. Kosher law is very complex and the bones and hides used in gelatin production are considered pareve. The general meaning of pareve refers to foods that are neither milk nor meat, and many people assume this means that the product is vegetarian. However, OU pareve certified ingredients can have animal products, such as fish, eggs, and gelatin, in them….since the gelatin product is from hides or bones – not real flesh – and has undergone such significant changes, it is no longer considered ‘fleishig’ (meat) but ‘pareve’, and can be eaten with dairy products.”
Is there vegan gelatine?
“Gelatine” is a substance made of animal bones and other parts of the animal’s body. So if there’s a product with “gelatine”, it can’t be vegan. But there exists a big variety of substances which are vegan an which have the same properties as gelatine: Cellulose (Amid), Agar-Agar, Biobin, Guar, Xanthan, Carob fruit and others. (Unfortunately I do not know the exact english names, but maybe this will help you already.) So if you read on the ingredient list that gelatine is used, then you can be sure that this product is NOT vegan. But if one or more of the other mentioned subsances appear on the list, you can be sure that you can eat them even as vegan.
Hain makes a Jello product with non-animal gelling substance (no meat, bone, skin, hoof, or any other part/derivative) that is superior to Jello. Also, some ‘snack pack’ gel snacks are NOT made with gelatin, and available in larger grocery stores (even in texas!), just read the label.The gelatin you eat in Jell-O comes from the collagen in cow or pig bones, hooves, and connective tissues. To make gelatin, manufacturers grind up these various parts and pre-treat them with either a strong acid or a strong base to break down cellular structures and release proteins like collagen. After pre-treatment, the resulting mixture is boiled. During this process, the large collagen protein ends up being partially broken down, and the resulting product is called gelatin. The gelatin is easily extracted because it forms a layer on the surface of the boiling mixture.
Veggie safe gelatin alternative:
Agar, arrowroot, corn starch, guar gum, xanthan gum