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What is a Carrageenan?

What is Carrageenan used for in cooking?


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What is Carrageenan?

• It is a product that comes from particular kinds of red algae which is a seaweed from European and North American seas.
• Chondrus crispus or Irish moss were the algae used in the traditional carrageenan
• It is similar to agar, a composition that comes from red algae as well.

Application of Carrageenan

• used in biochemistry
• used in chemistry to come up with gels containing immobilize cells or microbes
• a standard cooking ingredient
• It can also be mixed with gel-like products
• It serves as a fat alternative in processed meat.
• It is used in salad dressings, chocolate, pie filling and jelly.
• It is very compatible with milk proteins. That’s the reason why it can also be usually found in foods which have dairy content such as cottage cheese, yogurt and ice cream.
• It makes recipes smoother and more flavorful.
• It emulsifies and stabilizes food ingredients and non-food items to keep them intact
• It serves as a food alternative to gelatin which comes from animal bones for vegetarians.
• It acts as a thickening agent both in food and non-food items.
• It can also be found in air freshener gels, personal lubricants and toothpastes.
• Fire fighting foams containing carrageenan are more efficient, sticky and thicker.

Kinds of Carrageenan

Lambda

• came from Gigartina genus algae species
• cannot be produced using the semi refined method
• works as a thickener than an adhesive product
• sticks in certain milk combinations but not in water
Iota

• came from Eucheuma denticulatum algae species
• has greater gel strength when mixed with calcium
• pour this product in water and you will have a soft gel as a result

Kappa

• came from the Eucheuma cottonii algae species
• compatible with proteins in dairy products
• pour this product in water and you will be able to produce a firm and solid gel

How to Produce It

Refined Carrageenan

• Cook the algae in a solution (alkaline) for more than one hour. After that, remove its firm portions. Have the portions dried and you have a refined carrageenan. This method is costly and takes time but it is still being used up to now.

Semi-refined Carrageenan

• Put potassium hydroxide into the alkaline solution where you will be cooking the algae. This element keeps most parts of the carrageenan. Get the seaweed from the solution, wash and dry it.

Home Made

• Just let an Irish moss boil for a maximum of half an hour. Get the moss and let the mixture cool down for you to have a gelled substance as a result.


Health Issues

• Cancers and gastrointestinal illnesses can be brought about by degraded carrageenan. This kind of carrageenan can’t usually be found in food so you don’t have to worry about consuming it.

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