Agar agar is an intriguing, gelatinous additive that helps to thicken dishes like soups, sauces, custards, and desserts.
This substance is a powder made from seaweed, that turns into jelly when prepared.
Cooks should know that agar agar does not have a distinctive taste or smell but is typically used for its gelling and thickening properties.
Since this is not something that you would likely use every day in your cooking, it is important to know a bit more about the shelf life of agar agar.
Does agar agar expire?
Agar Agar does not expire. The agar powder that is used to create the gelatinous agar agar agent does not have an expiration date. However, it is recommended that you consume or use the agar agar within a fixed period from purchase, or when the original packaging is opened for the freshest and most effective agar agar. Subpar or old agar may not thicken as well as it should.
Want to know if agar agar expires? Keep reading to find out more!
There are some cultures that do not regularly use gelatin so it makes sense that alternative thickeners may be used, like agar powder.
Agar is used in some unique dishes, such as the online sensation and viral spectacle known as the Raindrop Cake.
This clever translucent desert was conceived in Japan but has garnered an international following.
This fascinating cake is made using agar agar to thicken yet maintain the sheer glossiness of the dessert- something that mere gelatin may not achieve.
Agar agar is not made from animals, which can not be said for gelatin.
Agar agar may simply fit better and be a better option in vegetarian and vegan lifestyles.
There is not predetermined expiration date on most packages of Agar powder, yet you should know to store it in a cool, dry place tightly sealed- and to discard if you cannot remember the last time you used an open package or pouch of agar.
There is no guideline regarding the shelf life of agar powder, so use your own best judgement and discard any food items- agar agar included- that you think could be spoiled.
Agar Agar Benefits
Some suggest that if you consume agar agar prior to eating, it can help aid in digestion and reduce bloat.
Check with your own physician or provider before embarking on any new health or lifestyle changes.
Also, since agar agar is not made from animals, it is a vegan or vegetarian food item.
Another perk of using agar agar powder is how it gives baked goods a cool appearance and can extend the shelf life and freshness.
In these instances, agar agar may act as a type of preservative that helps to keep your baked goods fresher, longer.
When used in making sweet treats, you can reduce the sugar or sweeteners in the recipe which is an advantage.
It helps to make certain foods denser and can brighten the colors of pastries, icings, and desserts.
Agar powder is something that culinary enthusiasts and home bakers may want to keep in their pantry or kitchen cupboard for fun!
Frequently Asked Questions About Agar Agar
Is agar agar a starch?
Agar agar may be considered to be a kind of starch and it comes in a powder form. Agar agar is used to thicken culinary dishes, like soups, stews, sauces, syrups, desserts, batters, and other recipes.
Where can you buy agar?
Agar agar is easily found online from grocers, websites, and even Amazon, for easy delivery right to your door. You can also find it in specialty food stores and ethnic grocery stores, for instance, Asian markets often carry this item. Many mainstream grocery store chains are beginning to carry items like agar agar to appeal to their vegan and vegetarian customers and consumers.
Can you use gelatin instead of agar agar?
There are some distinctions between using agar agar and using gelatin that make one a more viable option than the other. For instance, gelatin should not be boiled, or it breaks down and won’t gel, while agar agar is boiled in order to activate its thickening properties. Also, if you follow a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, you may prefer agar agar as it is not made from animals, whereas gelatins are.
What are the benefits of agar?
There are some other benefits of agar agar beyond its ability to thicken your favorite recipes. Agar is often used with efficacy in treating diabetes and managing glucose levels. It is vegan and animal-free, plus it can help to reduce the amount of sugar that is needed in a dish. Agar gives foods a denser, more satisfying texture and consistency. There are many unique advantages to using agar powder in your cooking- try it for yourself!
Since agar doesn’t expire necessarily, it is important to note when you purchased and opened the agar to ensure freshness and thickening each and every time you use it!
Try using agar agar for thickening dishes and recipes for something new and clever in the kitchen.
Plus, take advantage of the many perks that this unique substance offers, from reducing the sugar in your favorite dishes to creating eye-catching finishes on cakes and pastries- plus, it is vegetarian and vegan friendly!
Agar powder is something that every home cook, chef, and baker need to keep on-hand in their own pantry, spice cabinet, or kitchen cupboard.