Okay, so one day you became curios about carrageenan and decided to look for an ever helpful article to shed light into it and here we are. We’re sure you want to figure out exactly what is carrageenan? where people use it, how it’s consumed, if you have already encountered it but didn’t know anything back then and so on. We’re here to talk about all you need to know about carrageenan so get ready because this is going to be a little confusing at time. Oh and heads up because whe have tons of scientific terms for you today.
Basics of Carrageenan
Carrageenan, or carrageenins as others prefer got its name from the Irish word “carraigin” which translates to little rocks. Basically this substance is extracted from red seaweeds that are edible; they also belong to the family of linear sulphated polysaccharides. All in all there are three major varieties of carrageenan, each one only differ in sulphation from the other.
Uses of Carrageenan
Since you might not have heard of this ingredient before, it might shock you to know that carrageenan is widely used in the food industry. Carrageenan is great for its ability to gel, thicken and even stabilize various properties. Carrageenan is mainly applied to multiple meat and dairy products because of their powerful binding especially when food proteins are concerned. Carrageenan is used in many vegetarian and vegan alternatives to gelatine. The following are just some of the common examples where carrageenan is used:
- Various desserts like milkshakes, yogurt, ice cream, sweetened condensed milk and cream.
- Sauces and salad dressings in order to enhance the density.
- Beer, due to its ability to remove proteins that cause haze.
- Pâtés and various processed meat; a great example would be your simple everyday ham. Carrageenan is a great alternative to fat, it also increases the overall water retention, adds volume or help in the easiness of slicing.
- Toothpaste, since it helps stabilize the solution and prevent any form of separation of the contents.
- Fruit gushers, carrageenan is an important ingredient in the encapsulated gel.
- Foam used in fire fighting since, as we said, it’s used as a thickening agent and enhances the stickiness of the foam used.
- Shampoo and other creams in cosmetics, used as a thickener for the solution.
- Air freshener gels.
- Marbling, yes the ever famous marbling technique of paper and fabric use carrageenan a lot; they add the carrageenan where the paint and inks floats before the fabric and paper added in order to absorb the design.
- Shoe polish gel in order to increase the density.
- Numerous pharmaceuticals, carrageenan is used as the inactive recipient found in the pills and even the tablets.
- Soy milk and many other plant milks, carrageenan was used to thicken the substance in order to attempt to copy the consistence of actual whole milk.
- Different kinds of pet food.
- Various lubricants.
- Vegetarian hot dogs.