Halal Food Guide - Gelatine

Monday, April 07, 2014

When you think of gelatine, you think "jelly". While it's quite obvious that jelly is something we're careful about, you'd be surprised how many other products also contain gelatine. So this post is partially for vegetarians as well.

Basically, gelatine is produced by partial hydrolisis of collagen from animal by-products - skin, bones and connective tissues. 

It's mainly used as a gelling agent and is found in jelly, marshmallows and other confectionery (gummy bears, jelly babies etc.)




marshmallows




It's also often used as a stabiliser or thickener in yoghurt and cream cheese. You'll also find it in most of the low-fat yoghurts, where it's used to add volume and texture without adding extra calories.








It's also present in mousses, as it makes them set and hold the texture.






Another use of gelatine is for pharmaceutical capsules - it's used to produce shells, making the capsules easy to swallow. You can't even imagine how long my Hubby was trying to find omega-3 capsules that would be Muslim-friendly ;)


So, how can we replace that?

  • halal beef gelatine
While looking at different products I observed that pork gelatine is still the most commonly found type, although there's more and more products containing beef alternative available. But just because it isn't pork, it doesn't make it halal - gelatine must be produced from zabihah (ritually slaughtered) animal. 








Halal confectionery is not that hard to find - they're widely available from Asian grocers and major supermarkets in "world foods" section. And the ones pictured above were actually bought in Primark ;)




halal sweets in Tesco







  • fish gelatine
To be honest, I've never been able to find any of it locally. By the way, I'm actually wondering why they can't use it to make these bloody omega-3 or cod liver capsules?


  • vegetarian alternatives
Agar agar, pectin, carrageenan, konjac... There is a variety of plant-derived gelling agents.



image source: www.mysupermarket.co.uk

Vege-Gel, made with carrageenan, is great alternative to gelatine in the home cooking. Well, I say great, although I can't seem to make it work for me and I always screw it up ;) Although I'm planning to give it another go soon :)


Agar is probably the most popular in home cooking (at least most recipes call for it as a gelatine alternative), but it's hard to come across in the supermarkets. I get mine from Amazon ;) 






I can observe, however, that agar-based jellies are very much on the soft side - they don't quite set as well as the animal-based ones.


Sainsbury's fruit jellies

Pectin is the one you will usually find in commercially produced sweets. While most of branded jellies will have pork and occasionally beef gelatine in them, look for supermarkets' own products. A lot of Sainsbury's and Tesco confectionery contains pectin and is suitable for vegetarians. Seriously, the little "V" sign is a life saver, seeing this I'm pretty much always sure I can safely buy the stuff.


[Please note: I'm not an expert. Any material posted comes from my own research and I'm open to constructive criticism and correction.]

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16 comments

  1. It's amazing how many different foods gelatine goes into. Useful article for vegetarians/vegans as well, thanks for sharing.

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    1. Yeah, it is quite surprising when you first look into it!

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  2. I honestly didn't realise how many things contained gelatin!

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    1. Me neither, I got this habit of checking labels while I'm shopping and I'm always amazed how many things have gelatine in them.

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  3. My parents didn't realise about the whole gelatin thing so I have consumed plenty of sweets I shouldn't have. But thankfully am now clued up!

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    1. It happened to me quite a few times to buy and eat stuff that I didn't know contained gelatine, now I'm checking everything first. I guess it's a matter of being better informed now :)

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  4. I didn't realise that gelatine was used in so many foods. A lot of them are not foods which obviously contain it, I would never think of it being in yogurts x

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  5. thanks for the info, i would never think to look at the ingredients of my fav marshmallows

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  6. I was a veggie for many years and the amount of products with gelatin is astounding. Thanks for sharing some alternatives.

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  7. I never realised so many foods contained gelatin thanks for sharing!

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  8. What a fascinating post, I had no idea gelatin was in so many. Thank you so much for sharing the options :)

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  9. Wow gelatin is in so many things! x

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  10. I have to admit I had no idea it was in yogurts and the like! Thank you sharing x

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  11. I never realised how many different food s it was in....must make shopping a nightmare

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  12. I had no idea that gelatine is in so many foods. Thanks for sharing x

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  13. I have been looking for a massive list like this for a long time. Thanks Joanna for sharing.

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