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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The mystery behind Agar Agar unfolded.......

Agar or agar-agar is a gelatinous substance derived from a polysaccharide that accumulates in the cell walls of agarophyte red algae.Historically and in a modern context, it is chiefly used as an ingredient in desserts throughout Asia and also as a solid substrate to contain culture medium for microbiological work. The gelling agent is an unbranched polysaccharide obtained from the cell walls of some species of red algae, primarily from the genera Gelidium and Gracilaria, or seaweed . Commercially it is derived primarily from Gelidium amansii.
Agar (agar-agar) can be used as a laxative, a vegetarian gelatin substitute, a thickener for soups, in jellies, ice cream and other desserts, as a clarifying agent in brewing, and for sizing paper and fabrics.
Chemically, agar is a polymer made up of subunits of the sugar galactose. Agar polysaccharides serve as the primary structural support for the algae's cell walls.
Agar-agar is a natural vegetable gelatin counterpart. White and semi-translucent, it is sold in packages as washed and dried strips or in powdered form. It can be used to make jellies, puddings, and custards. For making jelly, it is boiled in water until the solids dissolve. Sweetener, flavouring, colouring, fruit or vegetables are then added and the liquid is poured into molds to be served as desserts and vegetable aspics, or incorporated with other desserts, such as a jelly layer in a cake.
Agar-agar is approximately 80% fiber, so it can serve as an intestinal regulator. Its bulk quality is behind one of the latest fad diets in Asia, the kanten (the Japanese word for agar-agar) diet. Once ingested,kanten triples in size and absorbs water. This results in the consumer feeling more full. Recently this diet has received some press coverage in the United States as well. The diet has shown promise in obesity studies.
In Philippine cuisine, it is used to make the jelly bars in the various gulaman refreshments or desserts such as sago gulaman (aka gulaman at sago), buko pandan, agar flan, halo-halo, the various Filipino fruit salads, black gulaman, and red gulaman. One use of agar in Japanese cuisine is anmitsu, a dessert made of small cubes of agar jelly and served in a bowl with various fruits or other ingredients. It is also the main ingredient in Mizuy┼Źkan, another popular Japanese food. (See very top image.) In Indian cuisine, agar agar is known as "China grass" and is used for making desserts. In Burmese cuisine, a sweet jelly known askyauk kyaw is made from agar. In Russia it is used in addition or as a replacement to pectin in jams and marmalades, as a substitute to gelatin for its superior gelling properties, and as a strengthening ingredient in souffles and custards. The most famous use of agar-agar is in Ptich'ye moloko (Bird's Milk), a rich gellied custard (or soft meringue) used as a cake filling or chocolate-glazed as individual sweets.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Time to save the environment is NOW !

If you want to save the environment, start off by looking at what you put in your mouth.

Whatever your diet, and whatever reasons you have for eating the foods you do, there are clear consequences to what ends up on your plate.

Foods are not inherently neutral in the context of the earth, and most have an environmental toll. A few, however, can give mother nature a helping hand and reverse the chronic degeneration underway on much of the earth. Your food can actually save the environment.
Our world has finite resources, though from the perspective of a single person it can seem impossibly vast and abundant.

Water, which is so critical to all life on earth, is one such resource. Ask an inhabitant of the perennially drought-stricken western United Statesif they have enough to go on if you have any doubts. We can't 
save the environmentwithout water.
The soil we walk on seems infinite, but billions of tons of topsoil have been lost in the last 50 years due to unsustainable land management practices. We cannot save the environmentif we can't feed ourselves.
Our world is also vulnerable to toxic fungicides and pesticides which are liberally spread over crops, endangering us and polluting the earth. We can't save the environment if we continue to pollute it.
It's clear that one diet actually helps the planet, and that's a raw, organic, fruit-based diet that also includes plenty of vegetables as well as nuts and seeds.
Below, and in subsequent articles, I hope to show you why adopting such a diet is best not only for you, but for the earth as well.
Eat all you care for, but choose foods that save the environment.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Product....

If you’ve been trying to live a greener more sustainable life, both at home and around town, the word “disposable” carries an undesirable connotation.
Our society is plagued by a throw-away mentality, and people think nothing of using resource intensive products and packaging for just a matter of minutes before tossing it into the trash can, and ultimately, the landfill.
The cups are made entirely out of agar agar and cast in different flavors, such as lemon-basil, ginger-mint, or rosemary-beet, each specifically designed to compliment a corresponding drink. The cups can be nibbled on while drinking and any leftover remnants can be composted immediately.

Dubbed Jellobite, this unique line of cups completely reinvents the way people experience a beverage, including the way it feels, tastes, smells, moves, and is even disposed of.

Because it’s made from agar agar, a seaweed extract that actually nurtures the growth of plants, it’s one of the few that you can accidentally drop on the lawn or in the garden with good results.
The designers also toyed with the idea of creating a line of shot glasses in different flavors that compliment a corresponding Absolut vodka drink.

Thursday, 25 August 2011


I hate the after party pick up; all those glasses to wash just make me crazy. So how excited was I to discover that three budding entrepreneurs from the N.L.Dalmia Institute of Management Studies and Research have created edible glassware. 
These three budding entrepreneur's collectively developed Jellobite, a biodegradable, edible cup.  Durvesh Galvankar, Hardik Mehta and Shruti Kanodia entered the prototype into a jelly mold contest and realized it could work as glassware too.
The glassware comes in several flavors including rosemary-beet, lemon basil and several Absolut-branded varieties to pair with cocktails and mocktails. If you fill up on glassware and just can’t eat another bite it can be composted. 

 These useful tumblers are made from agar a seaweed derived substitute for gelatin.  That alone appeals to the vegetarian crowd.
The design collective is hoping to raise $10,000 in capital to launch the product in the near future. You won’t see much else besides the glasses. Hardik Mehta said that “Plates did not work out too well.”

Just hope they are not infringing on the “Jello” name or trademark.  It would be so unfortunate if they did.