Unflavored gelatin, also known as granular gelatin, is a stabilizing substance used in cooking. It can be used to thicken liquids and can be combined with other ingredients to form gelatin desserts or molded shapes.
What It's Made Of
Unflavored gelatin is made from animal collagen, a protein derived from cartilage, bones, skin, connective tissues and tendons. The collagen is processed into a yellow, odorless, unflavored material.
Gelatin is most often found in powdered form. It also available in sheets, called leaves, commonly used in Europe or by professional chefs.
How It Works
Powdered gelatin needs to soak in cold water for three to five minutes to dissolve and soften, while gelatin leaves soak for 15 minutes. When the dissolved gelatin is heated, it develops a gel-like consistency.
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Unflavored gelatin adds substance and body to cream fillings and produces a sheen when mixed with icings. When combined with fruit juices and refrigerated, it becomes the well-known flavored gelatin dessert.
A vegetarian substitute for unflavored gelatin is agar (also known as agar-agar). Made from processed seaweed, it comes in long strands, blocks or powder. Pectin, arrowroot and guar gum can also replace traditional unflavored gelatin.