Last updated: 16/10/2022

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When preparing desserts or cakes, many people use the animal product gelatine. Agar agar is a suitable vegetable alternative. Thanks to its swelling properties and particularly good gelling power, agar agar is an optimal means of gelling. Especially for vegetarians or allergy sufferers, it is worthwhile to look into agar agar.

Even though agar agar appears to be a simple foodstuff, there are a number of things that need to be taken into account. The choice can also be made on the basis of the form of the product offered. We have collected the most important information about agar agar for you and compared a selection of products.




Summary

  • Agar agar is a gelling agent and is usually used as an alternative for gelatine. It can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes.
  • Agar agar is produced from algae. In the process, the carbohydrate agar is obtained, which has the swelling properties that are important for gelling.
  • Agar agar is usually offered as a white to brownish-yellow powder. The quality and origin of the product can be checked via certificates and quality seals.

The Best Agar Agar: Our Picks

In the next section, we want to show you agar agar products that you should definitely consider when searching. The selection of favourites we have made should make your search easier and enable you to make a well-informed purchase decision.

Buying and evaluation criteria for agar agar

Before buying agar agar, it is immensely worthwhile to look at the most important buying criteria. Ultimately, it is crucial to be well informed before buying. Here are the most important criteria we have collected for you:

Now you know the most important buying criteria for agar agar. Now we want to explain to you in detail what the individual criteria exactly address. This will help you to better evaluate products for their properties before you decide to buy them.

Possible applications

Agar Agar is usually intended as a substitute for animal gelatine and can therefore be used for the same dishes. However, it often makes a difference whether the dish is hot or cold. When buying agar agar, make sure that it can be used for both hot and cold dishes.

Origin

Origin can also be an evaluation criterion. The origin does not have to be decisive for the quality of the product. For ecological reasons, it may be worthwhile to choose products from Europe instead of buying agar agar imported from far away.

Certification

Certifications are usually a good starting point for assessing the quality of a product. If you have certain expectations of a food product, you should take a closer look. For example, an organic seal may indicate that good quality water and algae are used.

Ingredients

Agar agar is often used as an alternative. Most other products contain undesirable ingredients such as lactose or gluten. To know which ingredients are included or not included, it is worth taking a closer look at the manufacturer’s information.

Packaging

Packaging can also play a role in the purchase. For example, resealable tins or zip bags are very popular, as is packaging that allows for clever and simple dosing.

The material used also plays a role in the packaging. For environmental reasons, it can be worthwhile to use paper or glass packaging instead of plastic packaging.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about agar agar answered in detail

Not everyone knows what agar agar is and what it is actually used for. There are many unanswered questions about this topic. In the next section, we will answer the most important questions about the gelling agent agar agar.

What is agar agar and who is it suitable for?

Agar agar is used in the kitchen as a gelling agent or thickener. For example, it can be used to gel the cake that is still in the cake ring. For many people, agar agar is the alternative to gelatine because it is a purely vegetable product.

It is therefore especially popular with vegetarians and vegans. This is because dried seaweed is used to make it. The gelling agent agar agar is mainly used and produced in East Asia.

Besides, agar agar is a real option for allergy sufferers who want to consider an alternative for gelatine. It is more suitable here because most products contain neither lactose nor gluten.

What types of agar agar are there?

Agar agar is a very versatile product. The gelling agent, which is in great demand among vegans and vegetarians, is available in a wide variety of pack sizes and forms. Depending on your needs, you can choose the ideal and efficient pack size.

The product made from algae is also available in different forms. Whether as powder, flakes, sticks, strips or leaves, the effect is always the same. However, the powder or flake form is most commonly used, for example for gelling.

How much does Agar Agar cost?

The price of agar agar can vary greatly between different products. The size of the package and the origin of the product as well as the composition of the product from the various ingredients are decisive for the price.

The table will certainly give you a better overview of the price range for agar agar gelling agents:

Price range (per 100g) Available products
Low-priced (1 – 5 €) Simple packaging and few contents
Medium-priced (5 – 10 €) Certifications/quality seals and larger packages
High-priced (more than 10 €) More certifications/quality labels, organic quality

If price is your main concern, compare prices in terms of the pack sizes used. It can often be helpful to compare the price per kilo.

How to use Agar Agar?

Agar Agar can be used for a wide variety of dishes. It can be used for both sweet and savoury dishes. Care should be taken to use the correct dosage. It is interesting that the cooled gel can be liquefied again after heating in a saucepan.

The vegetable agar agar is a substitute for gelatine, but cannot be used in the same way. The gelling power is usually much higher, but can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. That is why it is worth paying attention to the package instructions.

How is agar agar made?

Agar agar is obtained from algae. As a gelling agent, however, it is usually sold in odourless and tasteless form. The carbohydrate agar-agar is obtained from the cell walls of algae as well as from algae oil. It is a so-called polysaccharide, which consists of numerous simple sugars.

Once it has been dissolved from the cell walls with hot water, it has to be dried and purified. The carbohydrate obtained has the optimal properties for the gelling effect. The product agar agar then usually has a white to brownish-yellow colour.

Conclusion

It is advantageous that agar agar is available in various forms such as powder or flakes. Anyone who avoids animal products or has allergies should use this product as a gelling agent. It is highly recommended to look for quality seals and certifications when buying agar agar and to ensure the appropriate quality.

Due to its positive properties, agar agar is also a real alternative to animal gelatine for non-vegetarians. Agar agar is in no way inferior to gelatine. On the contrary, its gelling power is usually many times stronger than that of gelatine. So it makes perfect sense to convince yourself by buying it and using it for the first time.

(Cover photo: Swapnil Dwivedi / Unsplash)

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