Question: I'm having some vegetarian friends over for dinner and was planning to make a dessert that uses gelatine, but my son has just told me that gelatine is not a vegetarian food. Is he right and if so, what can I use instead?
Answer: Gelatine is derived from the collagen found in the bones and skin of animals, with pigs and cows being the most common sources. Because of this animal origin, it is not suitable for vegetarian diets.
There are several gelatine substitutes available that use various vegetable gums to provide similar texture and setting properties to gelatine.
The closest product to plain unflavoured gelatine is an ingredient called Agaragar powder, which is derived from certain types of algae and seaweed.
Agar agar powder has about 10 times the setting power of gelatine, so it''s important to follow packet directions and it may take some experimenting to get the quantities right.
Agar agar powder can be found at some Asian grocery stores and health food shops, while similar vegetarian jelly mixes can be found at some delis and online vegetarian food stores.
This information is provided by the Sanitarium Nutrition Service.
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