Is there a vegetarian alternative to gelatin? Does anyone have recipes that use it?
Angela L from Sault Ste Marie, ON
Check out your local health food store, they'll be able to help you with other vegetarian thickeners.
There was an article about agar here on Thriftyfun, maybe last week? I want to try that for my vegetarian daughter!
Yes, there is. Depending on what you need the gelatin for. I don't know if you need it to thicken up foods, make a "Jell-O" type of product, make "Jello Shots" or for strengthening your fingernails & hair. If it's for making a "Jell-O" type product, I'd use Agar-Agar (from seaweed) Agar-Agar is closely related to Pectin. Another vegetarian alternative to gelatin is carrageen. This alternative sets more firmly than agar, and is often used in kosher and halaal cooking. Though it, too, is a type of seaweed, it tends not to have an unpleasant smell during cooking as agar sometimes does. Tapioca flour is another alternative. You can also use Sweet Rice flour. (You can buy these thickeners at any "Ethnic" or Asian grocery store for super cheap, or Health food stores) For thickening it depends on WHAT you are making, but any of the above will work, as will plain old corn starch... Always remember to add any of those thickeners I described above to COLD water first, then slowly heat them up (they will turn clear) & a little goes a long way! For your nails, It's the PROTEIN in the Gelatin that helps fingernails & I'm sure you know alternative ways to get protein. I'm not a vegan, but have been a vegetarian for over 29 years now. I didn't know what Gelatin was made from, so I called the Jell-O company & asked them. (They have an 800 hotline number on the back of the box) I'd heard it was from the bones of cows. They said they didn't use bones, but made gelatin from the HIDES of cows.
Try these sites for more info:
GOURMET VEGAN JELL-O SHOTS: (very cool photo & article)
PS. For those who eat fish: Try "Kosher Gelatin" it's made from Fish Bones, not Cow Hides.
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