Wednesday, March 5, 2008

agar agar jello

This subject came up on a local board I am on, so I thought I would post the recipe! Many people don't like using gelatin for many different reasons. Agar-agar makes a good substitute, and if you are looking for a jello or panne cotta type of recipe - this is great for that. This recipe can be kid oriented like jello cups, or made into a grown-up version using sparkling wine. Mmmm.

agar agar jello

This takes about 10 minutes to do only - and then a few hours in the fridge to set.

1 Tbsp agar-agar flakes or 1 1/2 tsp powder (yes, TBSP flakes, TSP powder!)
2 Tbsp sugar or sweetener - I use honey or agave
2 cups simmering fruit juice*


Cut up mixed fruit if you want. You can use drained canned too, if you like. Just don't use
kiwi or pineapple, or the agar won't gel (some enzyme thing).

1. In a saucepan, heat up juice (not boiling), then add agar and sugar. Stir well and bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until both the agar and sugar have dissolved.

2. Line up your cups/container* and pour mixture to about half.

3. Add the amount of fruit you want into container(s).

4. Cover and chill about 2-4 hours or until soft set.

*Juice: We like to use fresh squeezed juice such as orange or lemonade (if you use lemons add a bit more honey/sugar to taste). We also love using the veggie/fruit blend juices since they contain veggies but are still sweet enough for this recipe. For the more traditional jello flavor, use white grape or apple juice.

**Containers. We like the little glass canning jelly jars. You can basically use any mold, cup or containers you want.

Oh, and for a truly delicious grown-up version? Use champagne or sparkling wine instead of juice. And then for fruit use pureed fresh peaches with honey, fresh whole blueberries, or cut
up strawberries. Use a champagne flute or wine glass to set. SO GOOD.

ingredient tip::
Agar-Agar is derived from red seaweed. This natural thickener is mainly used as a gelling agent in desserts, puddings, jellies, and pie fillings. Since it is from a sea vegetable, it is a good source of iodine, calcium, iron, and phosphorous. It is also a good natural fiber!


Will & Kate said...

Agar has been long used by the barrel in science labs across the country. Made pretty much how you described, except with the nutrients needed to grow bacteria, it is poured into petri dishes and hardened. Bacteria are spread across the surface to grow and then analyzed for various purposes or used for extracting and purifying DNA.

I'm not sure if I could eat agar 'jello' because of my associations with it. :o) Is it a harder consistency than regular jello? (which I can also hardly eat, given its history). It is when we make it in lab, but I imagine you could make it more or less firm, depending on the recipe.


denise said...

I knew it was used for that purpose as well - I can imagine it would provide you with thoughts other than eating it! ;)

Yeah, I don't particularly enjoy the thoughts and processes of regular gelatin either, so agar has been a nice substitute.

It does set more firm than the equivalent in gelatin powder. So with 2 cups of juice, 1 1/2 tsp of the powder is about right.

I use it with coconut milk & sugar to make a panna cotta too, but I like that less firm so don't use much!

Lisa Anne said...

Looks as refreshing as this sunny day we are having, I will make some soon.

Anonymous said...

Looks delicious! I did a coconut milk kanten earlier this year and it was a big favorite in the house. Your recipe looks very refreshing.

Daisy said...

Thanks! This is exactly what I've been looking for... would love to have your recipe for coconut milk panna cotta, as well!

Anonymous said...

I just made this, using some oranges, limes, and lemons that I had in the fridge. I doubled the sugar called for. It set up nicely and with a lovely colour, but when I went to taste it, was it ever sour! Next time I'll try this with a sweeter juice.

Corina Becker said...

I have friends that practice kosher, but I love making jello desserts. This is great, trying it out!! Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Now you can be spared the hassle of having to cook this mixture up. There is a newly introduced line of all natural, vegetarian, kosher, vegan Dessert Jel Mix, called Garden Desserts, which is instant. Just add boiling water and let it set. Tastes delicious, and takes seconds to prepare.