Gelatin dessert
Overview
 
Gelatin desserts are dessert
Dessert
In cultures around the world, dessert is a course that typically comes at the end of a meal, usually consisting of sweet food. The word comes from the French language as dessert and this from Old French desservir, "to clear the table" and "to serve." Common Western desserts include cakes, biscuits,...

s made with sweetened and flavored gelatin
Gelatin
Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, brittle , flavorless solid substance, derived from the collagen inside animals' skin and bones. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, photography, and cosmetic manufacturing. Substances containing gelatin or functioning in a similar...

. They can be made by combining plain gelatin with other ingredients or by using a premixed blend of gelatin with additives. Fully prepared gelatin desserts are sold in a variety of forms, ranging from large decorative shapes to individual serving cups.
  • In many of the Commonwealth nations
    Commonwealth of Nations
    The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

     and in Ireland
    Ireland
    Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

    , gelatin desserts are called jelly.
  • In the United States and Canada, gelatin desserts are called jello (a generic name based on the brand name Jell-O
    Jell-O
    Jell-O is a brand name belonging to U.S.-based Kraft Foods for a number of gelatin desserts, including fruit gels, puddings and no-bake cream pies. The brand's popularity has led to it being used as a generic term for gelatin dessert across the U.S. and Canada....

    ) or gelatin, whereas 'jelly' is a fruit preserve.

Popular brands of premixed gelatin include:
  • Hartley's
    Hartley's
    Hartley's is a UK brand of marmalades, jams and jellies, manufactured at Histon, Cambridgeshire, by Premier Foods.- History :Hartley's was a grocers founded by Sir William Pickles Hartley near Pendle, Lancashire. In 1871 a supplier failed to deliver a consignment of jam, so William made his own and...

     in the United Kingdom
  • Jell-O
    Jell-O
    Jell-O is a brand name belonging to U.S.-based Kraft Foods for a number of gelatin desserts, including fruit gels, puddings and no-bake cream pies. The brand's popularity has led to it being used as a generic term for gelatin dessert across the U.S. and Canada....

     from Kraft Foods
    Kraft Foods
    Kraft Foods Inc. is an American confectionery, food and beverage conglomerate. It markets many brands in more than 170 countries. 12 of its brands annually earn more than $1 billion worldwide: Cadbury, Jacobs, Kraft, LU, Maxwell House, Milka, Nabisco, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Trident, Tang...

     in North America
  • Aeroplane Jelly
    Aeroplane Jelly
    Aeroplane Jelly is a jelly brand in Australia created by Bert Appleroth. Appleroth's backyard business, Traders Pty Ltd, became one of Australia's largest family-operated food manufacturers and was sold to McCormick Foods Australia, a subsidiary of United States corporation McCormick & Company, in...

     in Australia
  • Royal in Spain, Argentina, and Uruguay

Before gelatin became widely available as a commercial product, the most typical gelatin dessert was "calf's foot jelly".
Encyclopedia
Gelatin desserts are dessert
Dessert
In cultures around the world, dessert is a course that typically comes at the end of a meal, usually consisting of sweet food. The word comes from the French language as dessert and this from Old French desservir, "to clear the table" and "to serve." Common Western desserts include cakes, biscuits,...

s made with sweetened and flavored gelatin
Gelatin
Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, brittle , flavorless solid substance, derived from the collagen inside animals' skin and bones. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, photography, and cosmetic manufacturing. Substances containing gelatin or functioning in a similar...

. They can be made by combining plain gelatin with other ingredients or by using a premixed blend of gelatin with additives. Fully prepared gelatin desserts are sold in a variety of forms, ranging from large decorative shapes to individual serving cups.

Regional names

  • In many of the Commonwealth nations
    Commonwealth of Nations
    The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

     and in Ireland
    Ireland
    Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

    , gelatin desserts are called jelly.
  • In the United States and Canada, gelatin desserts are called jello (a generic name based on the brand name Jell-O
    Jell-O
    Jell-O is a brand name belonging to U.S.-based Kraft Foods for a number of gelatin desserts, including fruit gels, puddings and no-bake cream pies. The brand's popularity has led to it being used as a generic term for gelatin dessert across the U.S. and Canada....

    ) or gelatin, whereas 'jelly' is a fruit preserve.

Brands

Popular brands of premixed gelatin include:
  • Hartley's
    Hartley's
    Hartley's is a UK brand of marmalades, jams and jellies, manufactured at Histon, Cambridgeshire, by Premier Foods.- History :Hartley's was a grocers founded by Sir William Pickles Hartley near Pendle, Lancashire. In 1871 a supplier failed to deliver a consignment of jam, so William made his own and...

     in the United Kingdom
  • Jell-O
    Jell-O
    Jell-O is a brand name belonging to U.S.-based Kraft Foods for a number of gelatin desserts, including fruit gels, puddings and no-bake cream pies. The brand's popularity has led to it being used as a generic term for gelatin dessert across the U.S. and Canada....

     from Kraft Foods
    Kraft Foods
    Kraft Foods Inc. is an American confectionery, food and beverage conglomerate. It markets many brands in more than 170 countries. 12 of its brands annually earn more than $1 billion worldwide: Cadbury, Jacobs, Kraft, LU, Maxwell House, Milka, Nabisco, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Trident, Tang...

     in North America
  • Aeroplane Jelly
    Aeroplane Jelly
    Aeroplane Jelly is a jelly brand in Australia created by Bert Appleroth. Appleroth's backyard business, Traders Pty Ltd, became one of Australia's largest family-operated food manufacturers and was sold to McCormick Foods Australia, a subsidiary of United States corporation McCormick & Company, in...

     in Australia
  • Royal in Spain, Argentina, and Uruguay

History

Before gelatin became widely available as a commercial product, the most typical gelatin dessert was "calf's foot jelly". As the name indicates, this was made by extracting and purifying gelatin from the foot of a calf
Calf
Calves are the young of domestic cattle. Calves are reared to become adult cattle, or are slaughtered for their meat, called veal.-Terminology:...

. This gelatin was then mixed with fruit juice and sugar to make it taste better.

Preparation

To make a gelatin dessert, gelatin is dissolved in hot liquid with the desired flavors and other additives. These latter ingredients usually include sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

, fruit juice, or sugar substitute
Sugar substitute
A sugar substitute is a food additive that duplicates the effect of sugar in taste, usually with less food energy. Some sugar substitutes are natural and some are synthetic. Those that are not natural are, in general, called artificial sweeteners....

s; they may be added and varied during preparation, or pre-mixed with the gelatin in a commercial product which merely requires the addition of hot water.

In addition to sweeteners, the prepared commercial blends generally contain flavoring agents and other additives, such as adipic acid
Adipic acid
Adipic acid is the organic compound with the formula 42. From the industrial perspective, it is the most important dicarboxylic acid: About 2.5 billion kilograms of this white crystalline powder are produced annually, mainly as a precursor for the production of nylon...

, fumaric acid
Fumaric acid
Fumaric acid or trans-butenedioic acid is the chemical compound with the formula HO2CCH=CHCO2H. This white crystalline compound is one of two isomeric unsaturated dicarboxylic acids, the other being maleic acid. In fumaric acid the carboxylic acid groups are trans and in maleic acid they are cis...

, sodium citrate, and artificial flavorings and food colors. Because the collagen is processed extensively, the final product is not categorized as a meat or animal product
Animal product
Animal product, or animal by-product, is a term used to describe material taken from the body of a non-human animal. Examples are fat, flesh, blood, milk, eggs, and lesser known products such as isinglass and rennet....

 by the US federal government.

Prepared commercial blends may be sold as a powder or as a concentrated gelatinous block, divided into small squares. Either type is mixed with sufficient hot water to completely dissolve it, and then mixed with enough cold water to make the volume of liquid specified on the packet.

The solubility of powdered gelatin can be enhanced by sprinkling it into the liquid several minutes before heating, "blooming" the individual granules. The fully dissolved mixture is then refrigerated, slowly forming a colloid
Colloid
A colloid is a substance microscopically dispersed evenly throughout another substance.A colloidal system consists of two separate phases: a dispersed phase and a continuous phase . A colloidal system may be solid, liquid, or gaseous.Many familiar substances are colloids, as shown in the chart below...

al gel
Gel
A gel is a solid, jelly-like material that can have properties ranging from soft and weak to hard and tough. Gels are defined as a substantially dilute cross-linked system, which exhibits no flow when in the steady-state...

 as it cools.

Gelatin desserts may be enhanced in many ways, such as using decorative mold
Mold (food)
A mold or mould is a container used in various techniques of food preparation to shape the finished dish. The term mold may also refer to a finished dish made in such a container .-Types of molds:...

s, creating multicolored layers by adding a new layer of slightly cooled liquid over the previously-solidified one, or suspending non-soluble edible elements such as marshmallow
Marshmallow
The marshmallow is a confection that, in its modern form, typically consists of sugar, corn syrup, water, gelatin that has been softened in hot water, dextrose, vanilla flavourings, and sometimes colouring, whipped to a spongy consistency. Some marshmallow recipes call for egg whites...

s or fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

. Some types of fresh fruit and their unprocessed juices are incompatible with gelatin desserts; see the Chemistry section below.

When fully chilled, the most common ratios of gelatin to liquid (as instructed on commercial packaging) usually result in a custard
Custard
Custard is a variety of culinary preparations based on a cooked mixture of milk or cream and egg yolk. Depending on how much egg or thickener is used, custard may vary in consistency from a thin pouring sauce , to a thick pastry cream used to fill éclairs. The most common custards are used as...

-like texture which can retain detailed shapes when cold but melts back to a viscous liquid when warm. A recipe calling for the addition of additional gelatin to regular jelly gives a rubbery product that can be cut into shapes with cookie cutters and eaten with fingers (called "Knox Blox" by the Knox company, makers of unflavored gelatin). Higher gelatin ratios can be used to increase the stability of the gel, culminating in gummy candies which remain rubbery solids at room temperature.

Gelatin shots

A gelatin shot (usually called a Jell-O shot in North America and vodka jelly or jelly shot in the UK and Australia) is a shooter in which liquor
Distilled beverage
A distilled beverage, liquor, or spirit is an alcoholic beverage containing ethanol that is produced by distilling ethanol produced by means of fermenting grain, fruit, or vegetables...

, usually vodka
Vodka
Vodka , is a distilled beverage. It is composed primarily of water and ethanol with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made by the distillation of fermented substances such as grains, potatoes, or sometimes fruits....

, rum
Rum
Rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane by-products such as molasses, or directly from sugarcane juice, by a process of fermentation and distillation. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak barrels...

, tequila
Tequila
Tequila is a spirit made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, northwest of Guadalajara, and in the highlands of the western Mexican state of Jalisco....

, or neutral grain spirit
Neutral grain spirit
Neutral grain spirit is a clear, colorless, flammable liquid that has been distilled from a grain-based mash to a very high level of ethanol content...

 replaces some of the water or fruit juice that is used to congeal the gel.

The American satirist and mathematician Tom Lehrer
Tom Lehrer
Thomas Andrew "Tom" Lehrer is an American singer-songwriter, satirist, pianist, mathematician and polymath. He has lectured on mathematics and musical theater...

 has been rumored to have been the first to invent the gelatin shot in the 1950s while working for the National Security Agency
National Security Agency
The National Security Agency/Central Security Service is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting U.S...

, where he developed vodka
Vodka
Vodka , is a distilled beverage. It is composed primarily of water and ethanol with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made by the distillation of fermented substances such as grains, potatoes, or sometimes fruits....

 gelatin as a way to circumvent a restriction of alcoholic beverages on base, but the claim that he was first is untrue. The earliest published recipe dates from 1862, found in How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas: the recipe calls for gelatin, cognac, rum, and lemon juice.

The maximum alcohol content is somewhere between 19 fl oz (562 mL) and 20 fl oz (591 mL) of vodka mixed with a 3 oz (85 g) package of gelatin powder dissolved in 4 fl oz (118 mL) of boiling water; the resulting solution has about 30% alcohol by volume
Alcohol by volume
Alcohol by volume is a standard measure of how much alcohol is contained in an alcoholic beverage .The ABV standard is used worldwide....

.

Gelatin substitutes

Other culinary gelling agents can be used instead for animal-derived gelatin. These plant-derived substances are more similar to pectin
Pectin
Pectin is a structural heteropolysaccharide contained in the primary cell walls of terrestrial plants. It was first isolated and described in 1825 by Henri Braconnot...

 and other gelling plant carbohydrate
Carbohydrate
A carbohydrate is an organic compound with the empirical formula ; that is, consists only of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, with a hydrogen:oxygen atom ratio of 2:1 . However, there are exceptions to this. One common example would be deoxyribose, a component of DNA, which has the empirical...

s than to gelatin proteins; their physical properties are slightly different, creating different constraints for the preparation and storage conditions. These other gelling agents may also be preferred for certain traditional cuisines or dietary restrictions.

Agar
Agar
Agar or agar-agar is a gelatinous substance derived from a polysaccharide that accumulates in the cell walls of agarophyte red algae. Throughout history into modern times, agar has been chiefly used as an ingredient in desserts throughout Asia and also as a solid substrate to contain culture medium...

, a product made from seaweed
Seaweed
Seaweed is a loose, colloquial term encompassing macroscopic, multicellular, benthic marine algae. The term includes some members of the red, brown and green algae...

, is the traditional gelling agent in many Asian desserts. Agar is a popular gelatin substitute in quick jelly powder mix and prepared dessert gels that can be stored at room temperature. Compared to gelatin, agar preparations require a higher dissolving temperature, but the resulting gels congeal more quickly and remain solid at higher temperatures, 104 °F (40 °C), as opposed to 59 °F (15 °C) for gelatin. Vegans
Veganism
Veganism is the practice of eliminating the use of animal products. Ethical vegans reject the commodity status of animals and the use of animal products for any purpose, while dietary vegans or strict vegetarians eliminate them from their diet only...

 and vegetarians can use agar to replace animal-derived gelatin.

Carrageenan
Carrageenan
Carrageenans or carrageenins are a family of linear sulfated polysaccharides that are extracted from red seaweeds. There are several varieties of carrageen used in cooking and baking. Kappa-carrageenan is used mostly in breading and batter due to its gelling nature...

 is also derived from seaweed, but lacks agar's occasionally unpleasant smell during cooking. It sets more firmly than agar and is often used in kosher and halal
Halal
Halal is a term designating any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term is used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law...

 cooking.

Konjac
Konjac
Konjac , also known as konjak, konjaku, konnyaku potato, devil's tongue, voodoo lily, snake palm, or elephant yam , is a plant of the genus Amorphophallus...

 is a gelling agent used in many Asian foods, including the popular konnyaku fruit jelly candies.

Chemistry

Gelatin consists of partially hydrolyzed
Hydrolysis
Hydrolysis is a chemical reaction during which molecules of water are split into hydrogen cations and hydroxide anions in the process of a chemical mechanism. It is the type of reaction that is used to break down certain polymers, especially those made by condensation polymerization...

 collagen
Collagen
Collagen is a group of naturally occurring proteins found in animals, especially in the flesh and connective tissues of mammals. It is the main component of connective tissue, and is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up about 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content...

, a protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

 which is highly abundant in animal tissues such as bone and skin. Although many gelatin desserts incorporate fruit, some fresh fruits contain proteolytic enzyme
Enzyme
Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process, called substrates, are converted into different molecules, called products. Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell need enzymes in order to occur at rates...

s; these enzymes cut the gelatin molecule into peptide
Peptide
Peptides are short polymers of amino acid monomers linked by peptide bonds. They are distinguished from proteins on the basis of size, typically containing less than 50 monomer units. The shortest peptides are dipeptides, consisting of two amino acids joined by a single peptide bond...

s (protein fragments) too small to form a firm gel. The use of such fresh fruits in a gelatin recipe results in a dessert that never 'sets'.

Specifically, pineapple
Pineapple
Pineapple is the common name for a tropical plant and its edible fruit, which is actually a multiple fruit consisting of coalesced berries. It was given the name pineapple due to its resemblance to a pine cone. The pineapple is by far the most economically important plant in the Bromeliaceae...

 contains the protease
Protease
A protease is any enzyme that conducts proteolysis, that is, begins protein catabolism by hydrolysis of the peptide bonds that link amino acids together in the polypeptide chain forming the protein....

 (protein cutting enzyme) bromelain
Bromelain
Bromelain is a pineapple extract thought to be effective for reducing swelling , especially of the nose and sinuses, after surgery or injury. It may also be used for a variety of other effects that remain scientifically unconfirmed and not authorized by regulatory authorities like the Food and Drug...

, kiwi fruit contains actinidin, fig
Ficus
Ficus is a genus of about 850 species of woody trees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes, and hemiepiphyte in the family Moraceae. Collectively known as fig trees or figs, they are native throughout the tropics with a few species extending into the semi-warm temperate zone. The Common Fig Ficus is a genus of...

s contain ficain
Ficain
Ficain is an enzyme that is derived from figs latex. It is of a family of proteases known as the cysteine endopeptidases, a group that also includes papain derived from papaya latex, bromelase extracted from pineapple stem, calpain, caspases, cathespisin B, and chymopapain...

, and papaya
Papaya
The papaya , papaw, or pawpaw is the fruit of the plant Carica papaya, the sole species in the genus Carica of the plant family Caricaceae...

 contains papain
Papain
Papain, also known as papaya proteinase I, is a cysteine protease enzyme present in papaya and mountain papaya .-Papain family:...

. Cooking or canning
Canning
Canning is a method of preserving food in which the food contents are processed and sealed in an airtight container. Canning provides a typical shelf life ranging from one to five years, although under specific circumstances a freeze-dried canned product, such as canned, dried lentils, can last as...

 denatures and inactivates the proteases, so canned pineapple, for example, works fine in a gelatin dessert.

Wobbliness

The wobbliness of a gelatin dessert is not affected by ions in the water. Distilled water does not increase or decrease the wobbliness, compared with tap water
Tap water
Tap water is a principal component of "indoor plumbing", which became available in urban areas of the developed world during the last quarter of the 19th century, and common during the mid-20th century...

.

Concentration
Concentration
In chemistry, concentration is defined as the abundance of a constituent divided by the total volume of a mixture. Four types can be distinguished: mass concentration, molar concentration, number concentration, and volume concentration...

, however, does affect wobbliness — a high concentration of gelatin decreases the wobbliness of the resulting dessert. This is easily explained because the gelatin cannot be well dispersed within the water at high concentration. Thus, interactions among gelatin particles are increased, and the dessert then becomes more "solid" (i.e., less wobbly).

Conversely, if the concentration of gelatin is too low, the dessert will not "set" properly and will be more fluid (i.e., more wobbly).

Safety

Although eating tainted beef can lead to New Variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (the human variant of mad-cow disease, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy , commonly known as mad-cow disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disease in cattle that causes a spongy degeneration in the brain and spinal cord. BSE has a long incubation period, about 30 months to 8 years, usually affecting adult cattle at a peak age onset of...

), there is no known case of BSE having been transmitted through collagen products such as gelatin.

See also

  • Almond jelly
    Almond jelly
    Almond jelly, almond pudding, or almond tofu is a popular dessert in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Japan and often found in dim sum restaurants worldwide, commonly garnished with wolfberries....

  • Gummy candies
  • Jelly bean
    Jelly bean
    Jelly beans are a small bean-shaped type of confectionery with a hard candy shell and a gummy interior which come in a wide variety of flavors. The confection is primarily made of sugar.-History:...

  • Jell-O
    Jell-O
    Jell-O is a brand name belonging to U.S.-based Kraft Foods for a number of gelatin desserts, including fruit gels, puddings and no-bake cream pies. The brand's popularity has led to it being used as a generic term for gelatin dessert across the U.S. and Canada....

  • Knox gelatin
    Rose Knox
    Rose Knox, née Markward, aka Mrs Charles B. Knox was an American businesswoman, who ran the Knox Gelatin Factory in Johnstown, New York, USA after her husband died. She won wide respect as one of the leading businesswomen of her time.- Biography :Rose was one of three girls born to David and...

  • Gelatin salad, a variation on gelatin desserts that include other ingredients

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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