Some of the most popular gelling agents are derived from animal products, so it can be
hard to find certain types of sweet or dessert that are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Vegi gel is entirely plant-based, contains no animal products and can be used in the place of gelatine to make a range of dishes including traditional favourites such as mousses, souffles, terrines and more.
Vegi gel is an ideal substitute for gelatine as it can be used in sweet and savoury dishes to form firm gels. It produces good results when used with dairy and soya milks, but it does set clear for use in a range of jellies. Vegi gel doesn’t need to be refrigerated to set and will firm up above room temperature which is ideal if you want to set something quickly. It also means that it can be used for warm dishes without the jelly melting or losing its firm texture.
What is in Vegi Gel
Vegi gel is made from a variety of natural ingredients, including dextrose which is a simple sugar that is usually derived from corn syrup but can be extracted from other plants. It is chemically identical to glucose and the names are often used interchangeably. Dextrose is known for swelling up when mixed with liquids and it has preservative properties. It is not as sweet as most plant-derived sugars and so it’s used as an ingredient when a more neutral flavour is required.
Carrageenan is extracted from a seaweed native to the UK which is sometimes known as Irish Moss. It grows on rocks and has leaves that look like parsley, only dark red. It has been used for centuries as a thickener and to create jellies, and records suggest that it was a popular ingredient as early as the 15th century. It binds strongly with food proteins and that has made it a popular choice as a vegan alternative to gelatine because it gives firm and consistent results. The popularity of carrageenan as a gelling agent has resulted in commercial cultivation of the seaweed, particularly in the Philippines where it is used in a popular dessert dish called gulaman.
Carob gum is a natural dietary fibre that is also known as locust bean gum and carubin. It comes from the seeds of the carob trees found throughout Southern Europe and Northern Africa. It is used in commercial food production because it has a pleasant texture and it adds viscosity and fibre. It is also used to thicken a range of foods, including processed cheeses, soups and sauces, so it combines with the carrageenan and dextrose to form a highly effective gelling agent.
How to use vegi gel
Vegi gel can be used to change the texture of a dish and can be used in a variety of recipes. It can be used in dairy-heavy recipes such as cheesecake and panna cotta but is also suitable for vegan dishes such as jellies and flans. It can also be used in savoury recipes such as pork pies and terrines. Vegi gel can also be used to make vegan equivalents of treats such as gummy bears, biscuits, cakes and marshmallows.
Vegi gel is gluten free, vegan, halal and kosher, so it can be used in a variety of recipes to suit any dietary requirements. From trifles to mousses, pies to souffles, vegi gel is the ideal way to achieve the consistency you want, especially when substituting for traditional gelling agents.