Friday, April 13, 2007

Binders & Thickeners

Agar Agar (kanten, agal agal) -
A gel made from the cell walls of a few species of red algae or seaweed. Eden Foods carries agar agar bars and flakes.

Agar Agar is high in iodine. Follow the link to agar agar flakes and click on Nutrition Facts to learn more about the nutrient profile of agar agar.

A Gluten A Go Go Recipe using agar agar is Buckwheat Brioche.

Alginic Acid (Alginate) – A viscous gum that is found in the cell walls of brown algae. Primarily used by the food industry in ice cream, jellies, jams and more.

Beta-Glucan –
A natural gum found in the bran of cereal grains, such as barley, oats, rye, wheat or brewer's yeast. Determine the source of the beta-glucan before using or consuming it as it may not be gluten free.

Beurre Manie - A dough made of equal parts of butter and flour kneaded together. It is then blended into soups and sauces to thicken them.

Carrageenan - A natural cellulose gel made from the ground leaves of various species of red seaweed. Carrageenan is primarily used by the food and personal care industries.

Cassia Gum (Foetid Cassia, Chinese Senna, Coffee Weed) –
A gum made from the seeds of the Senna Obtusifolia plant.

Chia Seed Gel - Chia seeds soaked in water will produce a gel that can be used as a thickener. Make chia gel by soaking 1 Tb of chia seeds with 9 Tb of water. Chia seeds are high in fiber. Native Seeds/SEARCH carries chia seeds.

A Gluten A Go Go recipe using chia seed gel is Lemon Chia Seed Bread.

Chicle Gum – A gum made from the chicle tree.

Dammar Gum – A gum made from the sap of the Dipterocarpaceae trees.

Gellan Gum –
A gum produced by the bacteria, Sphingomonas elodea.

Gelatin -
A protein made from the collagen in the connective tissue of animals. Gifts of Nature carries a gluten-free unflavored gelatin.

Guar Gum -
A natural gum thickener made from the powdered seeds of the guar plant. Bob's Red Mill carries guar gum.

Guar Gum contains fiber. To learn more about guar gum, follow the link to Bob's Red Mill and click on the Nutrition Facts link.

A Gluten A Go Go recipe using guar gum is Cinnamon Rolls.

Gum Arabic (Gum Acacia) – A natural gum that comes from several species of Acacia trees. It is primarily used to make gum drops, marshmallows, and soft drink syrups.

Gum Ghatti – A gum made from the sap of the Anogeissus trees.

Gumbo File (File Powder) - A distinctive powder made from the ground leaves of the sassafras tree, used in traditional gumbo recipes. It also acts as a thickener when added to recipes. You can purchase Gumbo File from Zatarain's.

Karaya Gum - A gum made from the extract of Sterculia trees. It is primarily used by the food industry at this time.

Katakuri –
A starch made from the corm of a lily (Erythronium japonicum) native to China, Japan and Korea.

Konnyaku (Konjac, Konjaku) -
A gel made from the corm of the Konnyaku plant. The gel does not dissolve readily in the mouth, unlike gelatin, agar agar or others. It is also high in fiber. Look for Konnyaku or Konjac in Asian markets.

Kudzu or Kuzu Starch -
A thickener made from the powdered roots of the kuzu (kudzu) plant. Look for kuzu powder in Asian markets or from Eden Foods.

A Gluten A Go Go recipe using Kudzu/kuzu powder is Banana Coconut Macadamia Nut Muffins.

Locust Bean Gum -
A vegetable gum extracted from the seeds of the Carob tree. At this time, locust bean gum is primarily used by the food industry.

Mastic Gum (Mastic Resin) – A gum made from the sap of the Mastic tree. Look for mastic gum in Greek, Turkish or Middle Eastern food stores.

Methylcellulose –
A chemical compound made from cellulose. An ingredient in Orgran’s Gluten Substitute, which you can buy from Glutenfree.com.

Pectin - It is a gel or powder made from the cell walls of plants. Look for pectin in the canning areas of grocery stores or Kraft sells different types of Sure-Jell. Whole Foods carries Pomona's Universal Pectin, look for it in the baking aisle.

Psyllium (Plantago) Seed Husks – A gel made when Psyllium Seed Husks or the ground seeds are soaked in water.

A Gluten A Go Go Recipe using ground psyllium seeds: Pear Upside Down Pancake

Roux – A thickener made by using equal parts of butter and flour that is cooked prior to adding to sauces, soups, or gumbos.

Spruce Gum – A gum made from the sap of the Spruce tree.

Tapioca (Granulated) - Made from the root of the cassava or yucca plant. Use 1 Tb of quick cooking granulated tapioca to 2 Tb of liquid to make a paste. Edward & Sons makes a brand of gluten free granulated tapioca called Let's Do Organic...Organic Tapioca.

A Gluten A Go Go Recipe using granulated tapioca is Coconut Bread.

Tapioca Jelly -
A jelly made with 2 Tb washed tapioca pearls and 2 cups of water. Place the pearls and water into a sauce pan. Allow the pearls to soak in the water for 3 hours. Then place the sauce pan on the stove and allow the mixture to simmer until it is clear. If the jelly gets too thick, add a little boiling water at a time until it is the desired consistency.

Tapioca jelly is an old recipe that is found in cookbooks used on the America trail to Cookery for Invalids by Mary Hooper (1876).

You can find tapioca pearls in most grocery stores.


Tara Gum –
A gum made from the seeds of the Tara or Spiny Holdback shrub.

Tragacanth (Gum Tragacanth) – A gum made from the sap of several species of Astragalus trees.

Xanthan Gum - A natural gum produced by fermenting corn sugar with the bacteria, Xanthomonas campestris. You can purchase gluten-free xanthan gum from: Bob's Red Mill, Gifts of Nature, and Glutenfree.com.

Xanthan Gum contains fiber. To learn more about the nutrient profile of xanthan gum, follow the link to Bob's Red Mill and click on Nutrition Facts.

1 comment:

Wheatless Foodie said...

This is a great overview of textural ingredients. Nicely done!
Cindy