The first idea that probably comes to mind is, “what is this stuff I keep hearing about?” It does sound a bit like some scary synthetic chemical name but it isn’t. It is a type of polysaccharide (like a starch) found in a particular kind of seaweed and it can be used for many different culinary purposes. Often, carrageenan is used to replace animal-based gelatin for vegan desserts. It can be used as a thickener as well. The applications for this vital ingredient abound in the world of cooking, but especially in the vegetarian and vegan realms of culinary delight.
This thickening agent naturally found in a type of red seaweed, is used in so many types of food preparation, it is commonly seen as an ingredient on prepared food labels. The main thing to understand is that this simple and organic ingredient is nothing artificial or harmful to anyone. It is also used in things like smoothies and chocolate milk because it maintains thickness while preventing ingredients from separating. Nobody likes chunky chocolate milk, so good old carrageenan has a big place in the food industry. When you look around for different pudding and dessert recipes for vegan preparations, you will commonly find this ingredient listed.
The reason for this is because it is a simple, easily digested substance that has nice and smooth thickening qualities. It is better to use than corn or tapioca in many recipes that call for a more gelatinous quality to the food. It is most commonly found used in ice creams, puddings, yogurts, custards, and other dessert foods you will find pre-packaged or served at restaurants. When you bring it home and start to incorporate it into your creations, it becomes a vital part of the kitchen routine.
Most people are familiar with using corn starch in the kitchen as a thickener. This is just one way among many and, exploring new thickeners from seaweed sources is a good idea. It is possible that many of these interesting ocean ingredients offer unique health benefits. After all, they are used worldwide and have never had any problems in terms of food preparation or consumption. This is probably due to the fact that it is a plant ingredient and not likely to carry animal diseases or poisons that would harm animals since it is really nothing more than a complex kind of carbohydrate. Corn starch is too, but many people have intolerance to corn, so seaweed extracts as thickeners are a good alternative.
The best thing to do with this ingredient is to look up recipes that include it. That way, you can get a full idea of all the interesting possibilities to incorporate into your present cooking. In addition, you get new ideas for new, innovative food preparations using a healthy ingredient the whole family can enjoy. You can find it in most major health markets but also online for better deals. Start by checking out the desserts you can make with it. Those are especially interesting and certainly entertaining to guests.