Find out all about this thickening agent.
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Powdered Gelatin
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What is gelatin made of?

Gelatin is a thickening agent made of the protein collagen. It is extracted by boiling the bones, skin and connective tissue of animals with water. Some brands use pork (porcine gelatin) and others use beef (bovine gelatin). Although thanks to Jell-o, gelatin is primarily associated with desserts or sweeter dishes, gelatin itself is unflavored and colorless, meaning it can be added to a wide range of both sweet and savory dishes. The oldest historical reference to gelatin dates back to 1682, in notes made by physicist (and creator of the pressure cooker!) Denis Papin. Through his research, Papin discovered that boiling animal bones removed the glutenous substance, and thus gelatin was born.

Types of gelatin

Kosher gelatin

Kosher gelatin is made of kosher animal sources such as kosher-slaughtered and processed beef, or from kosher fish species. While there is no overall consensus, according to most opinions, combining gelatin derived from fish sources with dairy foods is permitted under Jewish dietary laws. Some brands of vegetable-gum based vegetarian gelatin are also labeled as kosher.

Vegan gelatin

Vegan gelatin can be derived from different sources. Agar, agar-agar and kanten are based on red algae. Carrageenan, carrageen and Irish moss come from seaweed. A third type of vegan gelatin is vegetable gum derived from various vegetables and plant sources. Not all types of vegetarian gelatin can be used interchangeably, so always follow the specifics in the recipe.

What about the gelatin in gummy bears and marshmallows?

Depending on the brand, gummy bears and marshmallows are made with animal-based or plant-based vegan or kosher gelatin, which is indicated on the package.

Is gelatin in pudding?

That depends on the recipe. Many homemade pudding recipes call for gelatin as a thickening agent. However, many pudding recipes and instant pudding mix use cornstarch or agar as a thickening agent instead.

How to use gelatin in recipes

Time is of the essence when working with gelatin in gelatin salads and other recipes. Make sure you have all your ingredients ready to go. We cover this topic in more detail in an article called What's the Difference Between Powdered and Sheet Gelatin?

Check out our collection of Gelatin Salads.