Gelatin. By itself, it doesn’t sound interesting. We all know that it is used to make Jell-O. Isn’t that it? What else is there? As it turns out, there’s a whole lot more to it than just Jell-O. Stick around because this article is going to cover everything you never knew about gelatin. Whether you’re a carnivore or a vegan, there’s information that will help everyone make informed decisions when purchasing, making and using products with it. Also, some of the pictures featured in this article contain subjects that are made with gelatin, casting a whole different light on it.
What, Exactly, Is Gelatin?
What is gelatin and why is it not vegan-friendly? PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has a lot of useful information on this very topic. According to PETA, it is a protein made from either cows or pigs. It can be found in a variety of products ranging from food and candy to cosmetics, hair care products, and even some beverages.
The History of Gelatin
When was it first used in food? How has its use evolved over time? What’s Cooking America covered this topic extensively. According to the article, in 1698 a French scientist recorded his experiments with making gelatin by boiling animal bones. Sometime during the early 1800s, its nutritional value was first recognized.
During the late 1890’s, Charles Knox – known for today’s Knox brand – was the first person to develop and sell packages of granulated gelatin. Also during the late 1890s, Pearl Wait became the first man to develop a recipe for today’s Jell-O. Unfortunately for Mr. Wait, he lacked the resources to launch Jell-O so he sold it to his friend Orator Woodward. It was Mr. Woodward who launched today’s Jell-O. In 2001, a Utah resolution was passed, making Jell-O the state’s official snack food.
The internet is loaded with tons of DIY gelatin recipes. It can easily be made at home on the stovetop. One such recipe, written by food blogger, Georgia – author of Stirring Change, kept the recipe super-easy. The only ingredient needed is chicken or pig feet – either of which can be purchased from a local butcher or meat market. After that, it’s a matter of letting the feet boil long enough on the stove. 2-4 hours according to Georgia’s recipe. But when it’s all said and done, the final product should look something like this:
The recipe wasn’t the only thing Georgia mentioned in her blog. She also provided useful tips for how these square globs could be used. Some suggestions included putting the square globs into beverages such as tea or smoothies. But why would someone want to put a glob of goo into their drinks? Because of its health benefits.
Incorporating gelatin into your diet and lifestyle has many benefits. Medical News Today shared many interesting facts about this high-protein substance. Just the fact that it’s high in protein makes consuming gelatin ideal for people recovering from illnesses, which could explain why hospitals stay stocked up on Jell-O. Also, unlike meat, gelatin is fat-free.
Medical News Today also stated that consuming gelatin could help boost collagen and give skin a nice healthy glow. It also contains properties that can help aid digestion. It has also been linked with aiding sleep, weight loss, and hair growth. As far as medicine is concerned, vegans beware! PETA mentioned on their website that some medications are made with gelatin. So if you are vegan, be sure to let your doctor know about your lifestyle.
For anyone who is either vegan or just looking for a gelatin substitution, here’s a list of options with information on how to substitute it out provided by PETA.
- Agar-Agar (made from seaweed)
- Carrageen (known as Irish moss and also seaweed)
- Kosher Gelatin (Liebers is one such brand)
Read More: What’s Really In Your Toothpaste?
When it comes to obtaining information on gelatin, PETA is definitely a good place to start. In 2015, PETA published an article listing many different ways gelatin is used. As mentioned earlier it can be found in coatings used on gel caps as well as in cosmetics and shampoos. It’s also sometimes used in wine-making, as well as a binding agent for photographic film. Let’s not forget about food items such as candies, marshmallows, and even some ice creams.
Gelatin can be used in so many fun activities. Tinkerlab offers some great ideas on sensory activities parents can do with gelatin. Fortunately, for these activities, boiling chicken feet for four hours isn’t necessary. Knox brand gelatin can be used instead. Some of the fun activities include making a toy mold. The recipe is available on Tinkerlab’s website but the ingredients are super easy and everything you need for this sensory activity is listed below:
- 4 packages of Knox
- Cold water
- Hot water
- Food coloring
- A mixing bowl
- A variety of plastic toys
It will take about three hours for the mold to set but when it does, your child will have something like the photo above to play with.
Read More: DIY Play Dough
From health benefits to sensory play, whether you’re interested in using gelatin in your morning smoothie or you’re trying to figure out how to avoid it, one thing is for sure, it has many different applications in today’s world.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF MATCHA POWDER.
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